By Mandy L. Puckett, M.A., R.D., C.D., manager of nutrition and weight management systems, IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital Bariatric & Medical Weight Loss Center

While losing weight may sound easy, it can be very challenging. Indiana has the ninth highest adult obesity rate in the nation, according to The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America, with an obesity rate of 31.8%, up from 25.2% in 2004 and 13.3% in 1990. When evaluating weight loss options, it is important to recognize the need for lifestyle change to support long-term weight management.

Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital opened its New Direction® Medical Weight Loss Program in January 2014. In the first year alone, it supported approximately 140 participants in losing an estimated 4,500 pounds – that’s over two tons of weight! The program is a physician supervised, multi-disciplinary approach to weight loss utilizing a very low-calorie, ketogenic diet. In addition to the physician, the medical weight loss team includes a registered dietitian, behavioral health specialist and exercise specialist. Several meal plan options are available, including the incorporation of meal replacements.

After individuals are medically cleared to participate, they visit the IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital Bariatric & Medical Weight Loss Center weekly to have their weight and blood pressure monitored, and they attend education classes focused on nutrition, behavior modification or exercise. Participants lose an average of three to five pounds per week while following the very low-calorie plan. As a result of the significant weight loss, participants experience improvements in medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and joint pain. Most importantly, they are involved in a six-month-plus maintenance phase to support their new lifestyle.

If you are interested in learning more about the New Direction® Medical Weight Loss Program, call (765) 747-4410.