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Anti diabetes and obesity program in Chile


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Founded in 1998, Fundacion Educativa de Desarollo Economico y Social works to improve the lives of thousands of economically disadvantaged Chilean families living in impoverished communities throughout the country. FEDES has implemented numerous programs in education, occupational development, and nutrition, and since the devastating earthquake in February, 2010, they continue to be instrumental, in conjunction with their Ministry of Health, in providing medical support to the quake-effected public hospitals and clinics. FEDES also continues to provide shelter materials to displaced families still living in temporary camps south of the capital city of Santiago.

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Published in: Lifestyle, Health & Medicine
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Anti diabetes and obesity program in Chile

  1. 1. Anti - Diabetes and Obesity Program According to Chilean government statistics, over 60% of Chileans are overweight and 25% are obese. 90% have a sedentary lifestyle. Lack of sufficient exercise and education on healthy diet, bad food habits or lack of skills to make healthy food in appetizing ways contribute to the News Letter problem, as does the fact that many healthy foods are much more expensive than junk food. October 2011 Among a poor population this can have devastating consequences, affecting overall health and bringing on diabetes and its subsequent complications of blindness, kidney failure, amputation of limbs, etc, since the poor are far less likely to receive adequate treatment. With governments and private citizens already feeling the burgeoning financial and social costs of these often avoidable diseases, the time to act, to prevent, is now.An exciting new anti-obesity and diabetes program(translated:)“My health, my life, in Lo Espejo” that FEDES iscarrying out with Abbott Laboratories and the HealthDepartment of Lo Espejo has begun. It was originally aprogram used by companies to help their employees improvetheir health. Abbott Laboratories has chosen to participate inthe Pilot Project by sponsoring this program for the first 100participants from this marginalized community as part of itssocial responsibility program. The vision is to expand to 1000,then 5000, then up to 20,000 as time goes on. Abbott Laboratories’ Director of Commercial and GovernmentAffairs Nestor Ortiz, who has been running this programinternationally for Abbott’s staff, flew in from Puerto Rico tospeak at the opening ceremony. Throughout a veryentertaining discourse which was punctuated with laughter, hetold the story of what motivated him to change his healthhabits, explained the way the program would help people toknow their risk factors and health indicators, and challengedeveryone present to take control of their lives and their healththrough changing their diet and exercise habits and lifestyles.The kickoff was attended by the Mayor and several citycouncilmen, all of whom enrolled in the program, Lo Espejo’sdirectors of health, the directors of Abbott Laboratories Chile,the chairmen of many local neighborhood committees, etc.
  2. 2. Participants filled out forms of their basic health history and habits, had their height, weight, waists, and blood pressures taken, as well as a photo to compare before/after the program. These participants are particularly key people because most of them are already leaders in their communities in these marginalized areas, and have the ability to help the program expand and keep rolling in the long term. The equipment that was used to take people’s health indicators, such as scales, blood pressure machines, blood testing kits, etc, were all donated by Direct Relief International over the last year. It was great to see them being used in such a new, complete program that could help save thousands of lives through prevention.Delicious refreshments consisting of all whole wheat,natural, nutritious foods and drinks were served whilepeople enrolled. The examples and ideas for healthysnacks and entertaining options were particularlyopportune and a big hit.
  3. 3. Phase Two At the third event all those enrolled had blood tests taken to determine their blood glucose, cholesterol levels, etc.Abbott Laboratories covered all the costs of the bloodtests, information pamphlets, food, banners, and signs.The municipality hosted the event and health workersfrom Lo Espejo’s local clinics took the samples andprocessed them. The dedication, efficiency and team-working spirit shown by the entire Lo Espejo healthdepartment, from Director Dr. Alfred Otarola, down toeach nurse and assistant has made the whole programrun smoothly. The process was also speeded upconsiderably due to Direct Relief’s donations of medicalsupplies over the last year. The results were all enteredinto the “Know Your Number” website. This is aspecially designed website that analyzes a person’s“numbers”, or health indicators and then generates apersonalized health risk assessment for eachparticipant. The report explains what each person’s riskof developing certain preventable diseases, such asdiabetes, heart attack, stroke, etc, would be in the nextfive years if they continued their current life styles, andhelps educate them on what steps they can take tolower those risks.
  4. 4. Phase 3“What do my numbers have to tell me?” was the questionon everyone’s mind at the third event. After speakersfrom Abbott Chile General Manager James Tait andMedical Director Dr. Amy Chong explained the charts andthe impact that each indicator would have on anindividual’s health, the participants each opened theirpersonalized health risk assessment and explanationletter. Doctors and nurses from Lo Espejo’s health systemwere present to answer any questions that people hadand encourage them in the areas that they needed tochange. The people who’s health indicators were indanger zones had appointments made with local doctorsright away to discuss the steps they needed to take toimprove their health and evaluate if any medicalintervention was necessary. Future developments underthis program include outfitting public parks with exerciseboth sponsored by Abbott, a community “walk-a-thon”.There’s more on the way, so stay tuned! equipment, theYMCA bringing physical trainers to teach good form inexercising, a community “walk-a-thon”, and much more,so stay tuned!