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Hospital Launches Memorial Center for Healthy Families


Memorial Medical Center has launched the Memorial Center for Healthy Families, a new program that offers healthy and wellness guidelines along with nutritional support to children, teenagers and their parents.

The comprehensive, patient-centered program is part of the Memorial Weight Loss & Wellness Center. The Center for Healthy Families offers two family-based classes, each eight weeks long.

Healthy Kids provides classes for 3- to 7-year-olds and for 8- to 12-year-olds; parents attend part of the class with their children. Parents also meet separately to learn how to support a healthy lifestyle for the entire family.

Healthy Teens is designed for 13- to 18-year-olds and covers good eating, exercise and understanding body image. Parents attend an accompanying support group.

Both programs cover nutrition education, strategies for successful meals and meal times, exercise and understanding body image and self image. They are designed to encourage patients and their families to identify barriers to healthy living and gain new ideas that will assist them is establishing and maintaining healthy lifestyles choices, said Cheri Harrison, pediatric program coordinator for the Center for Healthy Families.

“We partner with our patients and their families to develop the goals to make themselves as healthy as possible,” said Dr. Virginia Dolan, a pediatrician with Memorial Physician Services-Koke Mill. “Weight loss may or may not be part of that, but it’s about feeling healthy and being healthy.”

Dolan is one of four pediatricians in the program. The others are Dr. Teena John, Dr. Nicole Florence and Dr. David Sandercock, all with Memorial Physician Services-Koke Mill.

In addition to working with a pediatrician and participating in group classes, patients and families can receive referrals to work individually with a dietitian, physical therapist, lifestyle professional or a combination of the three.

Patients and families can also choose to participate in the program’s Just Cook class, in which they visit a teaching kitchen with a chef and learn basic kitchen and cooking skills, such as how to use cooking utensils and how to work with food, such as raw fruits and vegetables, Dolan said.

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