Maryanne Blackhurst was carrying around a heavy burden. Feedback from her doctor made it painfully clear.
“The doctor had marked it on my chart I was morbidly obese, so I was mortified. I didn’t want that in my health records,” says Blackhurst.
Last year her mother died unexpectedly from a massive heart attack. So Maryanne was ripe for change, but didn’t have money for a gym or weight loss center.
“This program is for people that are struggling with how they would pay for their medical bills,” says Blackhurst.
Access to quality healthcare can be a challenge to the uninsured or under-insured. Terms like health management, wellness and prevention are hardly spoken of and rarely available.
“Being obese and overweight puts you at higher risk for chronic diseases: diabetes, heart disease. A lot of people already do have those conditions, so we’re trying to manage that,” says Heidi Miller, weight loss dietitian with Lee Memorial Health System.
Up and running in its three locations, the Lee Physician Group United Way House is turning grant money into results with a weight loss program for people with low or no income.
“When they start out it’s about once a week for a month,” says Miller.
In under a year, weight loss patients lost at total of 500 pounds, through diet and exercise.
“People who have seen me for four weeks or six weeks, lose six pounds on their own, we can go ahead and refer to the Lee Memorial Wellness Center so they’re able to use that gym there for free for six months,” says Miller.
“So right now, to date I’ve lost over 60 pounds,” says Blackhurst.
Another step on the road to wellness.