(L to R) Geoff Gardner, YMCA board chair, Steve Snelgrove, Mayor Newell Clark and Dr. Skelton
(LEXINGTON, N.C.-August 29, 2012) A partnership between Lexington Medical Center and the J. Smith Young YMCA to improve the health of Lexington and Davidson County officially launched today during a noon program at the YMCA in Lexington.
"I am extremely positive about the relationship as it is a joint effort to tackle a serious health issue-obesity and the myriad of resulting health issues," said Steve Snelgrove, hospital president. "The percentage of severely obese people in the United States is expected to double by 2013 and represent about 11 percent of the population."
Davidson County ranks as the 65th fattest county in North Carolina, according to "County Health Rankings." Approximately 29 percent of Davidson County residents are obese, and the resulting health complications were apparent in data gathered as part of the recently completed Community Health Needs Assessment. The new programs at the YMCA will target obesity and associated health issues including diabetes and cardiovascular disease among others.
Joseph A. Skelton, MD, MS, Director of Brenner FIT (Families In Training), one of the nation's most comprehensive pediatric weight management programs, a part of Brenner Children's Hospital at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, served as keynote speaker. He said that between $160 and $180 billion is spent each year to take care of problems related to obesity. If left unchecked, costs will rise to $500 billion each year by 2030.
Dr. Skelton said that one-third of all children are overweight as are two out of three adults. Modern lifestyles are to blame, according to Skelton. "We eat more calories than we need," he said, "and what we eat is less healthy. On top of that, we are inactive."
He said partnerships such as the one between Lexington Medical Center and the YMCA will allow for additional programs in the community that focus on healthy lifestyles.
Lexington Medical Center is launching four programs at the YMCA in September. These sessions include a diabetes prevention series, adult and childhood obesity programs, and a supervised transitional exercise program for patients completing post surgical physical therapy following joint replacement surgery. The hospital will also provide the YMCA with a part-time medical director to assure quality services, review protocols and work closely with YMCA officials to ensure the effectiveness of the partnership.
"We plan to start locally in Lexington, but eventually extend this to all of Davidson County," Snelgrove said. "Slowly, together, we can all live healthier lives."
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