A new weight and lifestyle programme - the first of its kind in Ireland - which was developed by the local heart and stroke charity, Croí, is proving to be an outstanding success.
The CroiMyBalance initiative offers an evidence-based approach to sustainable weight loss and lifestyle management and is aimed at people who want to reduce their risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and obesity.
The programme evolved from years of working with those who struggle with their weight or have medical risk factors such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
Designed and delivered by an award-winning team of healthcare experts in medical risk factor management; diet and nutrition; exercise and fitness, the CroíMyBalance Programme is delivering results in terms of weight loss and risk factor management, such as lowered cholesterol and diabetes control.
The CroíMyBalance programme runs over eight weeks (one hour per week ) with follow-up at three, six and 12 months, and provides expert guidance on all aspects of healthy living and lifestyle change, which includes practical advice on weight, cholesterol, diabetes and blood pressure control.
During the eight week programme, each person is encouraged to keep a food diary and a weekly weigh-in is optional. All participants also undergo a lifestyle screening at initial assessment, end of programme and at one year which includes measurement of blood pressure, diabetes risk score, weight, body mass index, waist circumference, Mediterranean diet adherence score and physical activity levels.
A recent evaluation of the programme has demonstrated significant weight loss and improvements in other risk factors such as blood pressure, diabetes, activity levels and adherence to the Mediterranean style diet. These improvements are observed at end-of-programme with results being sustained and even further improved at one year assessment. Participants on the programme are achieving, on average, in excess of 16 pounds weight loss and a reduction of four inches in waist circumference. Furthermore, there is a reduction in their diabetes risk score which estimates their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the next 10 years.
Discussing the outcomes of the recent evaluation, Croí specialist cardiac and weight dietitian, Claire Kerins says the CroíMyBalance Programme is the first of its kind in Ireland and the results demonstrate the effectiveness of a lifestyle focused weight management programme.
"To date, the majority of commercial weight loss programmes focus on dietary aspects alone without incorporating exercise and behavioural changes. The key to a healthy lifestyle is good nutrition, regular exercise and effective stress management. In this context, our programme addresses issues as varied as the quality and quantity of sleep, hydration, fitness levels and portion control. The programme provides long-term support and motivation to assist individuals in achieving their nutritional and lifestyle goals for optimum heart health”.
The next CroíMyBalance programmes will take place at the Croí Heart and Stroke Centre, Newcastle on Monday April 25 from 11am to 12pm and on Tuesday April 26 from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.
Other weight and lifestyle programmes will take place in Lackagh Parish Centre on Wednesday April 27 from 6.30pm to 7.30pm and in Ballinasloe on Thursday May 5 from 6.30pm to 7.30pm.
As places are limited, pre-booking is essential by telephoning Croí at (091 ) 544310 or book online at www.croi.ie