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University joins coalition to improve metabolic health

Plans are underway for UTC to become a participating institution in a worksite-based intervention program, designed to improve metabolic health for faculty and staff. Chancellor Roger Brown kicked off the announcement of Chattanooga’s Approach to Metabolic Health Promotion (CHAMHP), made possible by The Institute for Health and Productivity Management (IHPM) awarding a $350,000 grant to the Chattanooga Health and Performance Institute (CHPI).

“On behalf of the faculty, staff, students, and alumni of The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, let me say that we are honored to be part of this noble effort,” said Brown. “You can be assured that your university recognizes the challenge before us and we stand ready to put our intellectual resources to bear on its solution.”

chamhp

The metabolic syndrome can be identified as the presence of three or more of the following:

  • Elevated waist circumference
  • Elevated triglycerides
  • Reduced HDL (so-called “good” cholesterol)
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Elevated fasting glucose

Those who have metabolic syndrome are at increased risk of coronary heart disease and other diseases related to plaque buildups in artery walls, such as stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and Type II Diabetes. More than 50 million Americans are estimated to have metabolic syndrome.

Through project CHAMHP, employees at UTC, BlueCross/BlueShield, Erlanger Health System, Memorial Health System, Parkridge Medical Center, and Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation will be encouraged to participate in screening to determine the prevalence of metabolic health issues. Selected participants will then be provided a multi-component intervention program, which will address physical activity and weight management. Changes will be measured, followed by an evaluation of the intervention model. Components will then be modified or eliminated from the model for use throughout the Chattanooga community.

chamhp2
Dr. Ron Blankenbaker and Chancellor Roger
Brown shake on a new collaboration.

Dr. Ron Blankenbaker, Chattanooga Unit, UT College of Medicine, is hoping with the establishment of CHAMHP that Chattanooga will regain its footing as a city that is proactive in the preservation of its residents’ health.

“People need support to change, and that support can come from our professional colleagues, the people we spend eight hours of the day with,” Blankenbaker said. “Healthy worksite settings can reinforce healthier lifestyles.”

The City of Chattanooga has done a lot to support the effort toward changing a sedentary lifestyle, according to Joe Leutzinger of IHPM.

“Chattanooga is changing the culture with walking trails, and the River Walk,” said Leutzinger. "Be proud of what you are doing here in Chattanooga.”

Leutzinger believes the religious community, restaurants, health care, government and education will play pivotal roles in this effort toward improved health.

“We like this project. It is the first of its kind, and it is going to demonstrate the efficacy of our efforts,” Leutzinger said. “Chattanooga will be held up as an example of how to address this problem.”

July 21, 2006

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