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VA Gets Veterans to 'Move'
Date:3/3/2008

'Weighing In' with Exercise, Sports, Personal Medical Records

WASHINGTON, March 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With more than 70 percent of patients coming to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for health care found to be overweight, VA is boosting its efforts to increase veterans' fitness through exercise, good nutrition and healthy lifestyles.

"VA's patients should consider themselves partners with our health professionals in managing their own care," said Dr. James B. Peake, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. "They need to ensure they eat right, exercise regularly and stay on the move."

MOVE, in fact, is the name for a VA program at each of the Department's 153 medical centers in which veterans have their body fat measured and receive "prescriptions" for exercises and nutrition.

VA officials say the need for fitness is clear. Not only do its veteran patients have a higher rate of obesity than the rest of the country's population, but 20 percent of VA patients also have diabetes, a rate almost three times higher than other Americans.

Under VA's MOVE program, diabetic patients get regular screenings of blood sugar levels and other problem areas. Patients can complete a questionnaire about their lifestyle and vital signs that gives doctors information about how to best support patients' efforts to improve their lifestyles.

Veterans and VA employees are eligible to take part in a "Champions Challenge" by committing themselves to walk 100 miles in 100 days. Applications can be made online at http://www.move.va.gov/challenge.asp.

MOVE and the "Champions Challenge" are part of a broader VA program called, HealthierUS Veterans. A joint project between VA and the Department of Health and Human Services, HealthierUS Veterans educates veterans and their families about the risks of obesity and diabetes, and encourages them to eat healthy, stay active and get fit for life.


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SOURCE U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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