Resolve to a Healthy New You!
January is often a time to jumpstart fitness goals or make resolutions for a healthy new you and while nutrition is a key component in building a healthier lifestyle, it’s often neglected or overlooked. Yet, proper nutrition can be critical in preventing the development and progression of life-long diseases such as diabetes. Coupled with exercise, healthy eating habits can also reduce the occurrence of heart disease and osteoporosis.
The Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan (AAAWM) wants to help older adults reach their healthy lifestyle goals through a new program called Healthy Eating for Successful Living in Older Adults (Healthy Eating).
If you want to learn about healthy lifestyle choices using a hands-on approach, then this is the class for you! Sessions include cooking demonstrations, group outings to a grocery store and restaurant, and a group physical activity segment. The group outings help participants learn how to incorporate the healthy choices into everyday life activities. “The class is fun and interactive and not the typical classroom setting. Participants have the support and encouragement of each other,“ said Barbara Nelson-Jandernoa, Contract Coordinator at AAAWM.
Registered Dietitian Staci Shell says older adults may not understand how their nutrition needs change as they have aged or possibly developed chronic conditions. “The goal is to teach people how to fit healthy eating into their lifestyle and how to make those healthy food choices in the grocery store, out to eat or wherever you are. It’s not following the latest diet, but learning how to incorporate smart nutrition choices into everyday life.”
The program, provided in partnership with Spectrum Health Healthier Communities, can accommodate up to twelve adults age 60 and over. The first session will be held Wednesday from March 7 through April 11 from 1:00 until 3:30 at Spectrum Health Healthier Communities (665 Seward, Grand Rapids, MI 49504). Instruction will take place in a classroom, kitchen, grocery store and restaurant.
Healthy Eating sessions are held weekly for six weeks. The March class will be taught by Nelson-Jandernoa and Shell. A session is also planned for Ionia County in the spring and AAAWM hopes to expand the program throughout West Michigan in 2012.
Healthy Eating is a National Council on Aging model program. It was developed in Massachusetts with funding from the John A. Hartford Foundation in 2005. Upon completion of the program, 80% of participants changed their diet or behavior to make healthier food choices or include physical activity in their daily routine.
Healthy Eating is one of seven healthy aging programs offered throughout West Michigan by the AAAWM. Other classes address fall prevention, physical activity, chronic conditions and arthritis. For more information on healthy aging programs or other resources for seniors, visit www.aaawm.org/healthy_aging
To sign up for the class, call 616.267.2626 or toll free at 877.495.2626, option 4.