The Rapides Foundation in late 2011 formed the Healthy Lifestyle Program to provide nutrition and physical nutrition counseling to Central Louisiana residents. Funded by the Foundation’s Healthy Behaviors Initiative and administered by CMAP, the goal is to offer Central Louisiana residents with resources to lead healthy lifestyles. A registered dietitian and an exercise specialist work with each client, offering demonstrations and education on proper nutrition and physical activity for good health.
The Healthy Lifestyle Program’s one-on-one counseling is offered free of charge to patients referred by their physicians. Clients are counseled for six months, learning behavior changes they can take with them when they complete the program. Central Louisiana physicians enjoy having somewhere to send their patients for follow-up and consistent nutrition and exercise education. Doctors also say that diseases become easier to control when patients modify their diets and increase their physical activity.
How it Works
Physicians assess a potential client’s need to make a lifestyle change and their level of readiness to change. The physician will send a referral to the Healthy Lifestyle Program Coordinator, who is a registered dietitian. The client then will be contacted for a one-on-one consultation with the dietitian and exercise specialist for personalized meal planning and exercise.
Nutrition Counseling with the Registered Dietitian:
The Healthy Lifestyle Program’s registered dietitian tracks a client’s progress throughout the program, assessing their eating habits, behavior changes, weight and inches lost, as well as growing in their knowledge on proper nutrition and physical activity. The dietitian will assess the needs of each client, working with the client to make realistic and healthy goals, such as learning what the food groups are, weight loss strategies, healthy meal planning and preparation, and how to be more physically active.
Physical Activity and Follow-ups with the Exercise Specialist:
Once the client and the dietitian establish goals and a plan to meet those goals, the Healthy Lifestyle Program’s exercise specialist will monitor and track the client’s progress. The exercise specialist will ensure the plan is being followed and clients are getting the appropriate care. The exercise specialist also provides clients with individualized, easy-to-follow exercise routines.
The Healthy Lifestyle Program also has a workplace education component for Cenla businesses. The program coordinator performs a worksite readiness assessment and provides a nutrition and physical activity education program geared to that worksite’s specific interests and needs. Employees can be referred through their Human Resources department for one-on-one counseling with the dietitian and exercise specialist for personalized meal planning and exercise.