Students slim down, get healthier

NORWALK - The results of a 16-week weight management program at Cerritos College "have been outstanding," school officials announced this week.The Cerritos College Student Health and Wellness Center, in partnership with the Health Education Department, launched the "Pound by Pound Challenge" last fall. The program included a free initial fitness evaluation, physical exams, consultation with a licensed dietician and nutritionist, support group, boot camps, an exercise journal and copy of the "Calorie Fat & Carbohydrate Counter." Two hundred students, staff and faculty participated in the first semester. The total pound loss for the semester was approximately 400 pounds. One person lost as much as 19 pounds and reduced their triglycerides and cholesterol levels by 75 percent, school officials said. "This program helped me a lot," said Anna Flores, a student who participated in the program. "The combination of physical exercise and nutritional education taught me what I can eat and what I can do to lose weight and become healthy." The program was started by Nancy Montgomery, coordinator of Student Health Services. She said she saw a strong need for health education among Cerritos College students. "While in college, students are known to eat unhealthy and indulge in fast food," she said. Montgomery wrote a grant proposal to Kaiser Permanente in Bellflower last year and won the grant. With the grant in hand, she involved the Physical Education/Health Department, hired a dietician and nutritionist and developed a semester-long weight management program. More than half of the participants who followed both an exercise and diet plan lowered their high lipid levels by 10 to 24 percent. Two of the five participants with diabetes got off or decreased their diabetic medications. "The program is life-changing for these participants," Montgomery said. "We would love to keep this program going so we can help improve students' health and lifestyle." For more information about the Pound by Pound program, call the Student Health and Wellness Center at (562) 860-2451, ext. 2321.

********** Published: February 12, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 43