The KU Diet Project for People with Physical Disabilities


When I craved something sweet,
I would go and grab a Snickers bar. And okay, that would be – okay, well I can have an orange too,
because that’s on the list. And you know what,
at the beginning it would be close your eyes and just pretend it was a Snickers bar and down it,
and then it got easier and easier. [Music] Hi, I’m Amanda Reichard.
And I’m Muriel Saunders. We’re directing a weight loss program
for people with physical disabilities. This is a three-year project funded by NIDRR
and participants follow one of two diet programs. One is a program very similar to the
My Pyramid, or now called My Plate, diet,
and the second is a diet that involves meal replacements,
frozen entrees to be exact, and protein shakes that
were donated by HMR Products. They also have what’s called a
Stoplight chart, which shows them in
color coding those things that are low in calories, those are green items, we chart them as green
items, yellow, ones to be slightly careful about and red light items, those
things that they should avoid. One component that is important to
both of the diets is that participants
meet with a dietician or an exercise physiologist at least once a month to review their goals,
to review ideas for continuing to make changes and replacements in their diet that work better for them, so this provides a sense of social
support throughout the entire project. Many of the participants in our study also,
in addition to being overweight, have diabetes and an important outcome of the study is that
in addition to losing weight they have been
able to get their blood sugar under control and manage their diabetes through exercise and diet. Karen Magliaro is one of the participants
who is losing weight and improving her health.
After nine months in the 18-month study, she had lost 46 pounds and was able
to reduce her diabetes medication. My weight has gone down but my
health has gotten much better. Cutting off all the sugars and the cookies and
the garbage, my blood sugars have gone way down. I was doing almost 80 units of insulin at night before
bed. Now I’m down to 20. Although participants are not required to exercise,
we encourage them to do so and provide them with ideas for accessible exercise. Participant Lou Reed is also improving her health as
she loses weight. After 12 months in the 18-month study she had lost 22 pounds. Yeah, my blood sugar used to be real high,
it used to be in the two hundreds. My blood
sugars are now in the nineties. Eighties and the nineties, so my blood sugar is way
down and it has been since I’ve been on this program. The fact that people who are morbidly obese or
obese who have many complicating factors in their lives many with multiple chronic conditions in addition to obesity, the fact that
they are able to lose weight despite
all those factors and that those with diabetes are able to get their diabetes under control, is testament to this
model working for this population in particular. Ultimately we hope that Medicaid and
other health insurance companies will want to provide similar services for their beneficiaries. So we’re collecting data and
using the Medicaid administrative
claims data to examine how the weight loss and participation in the study has influenced their health care utilization
and health outcomes so that we can
use that as argument for reasons why they should support
programs like this, preventive programs We support these people on the diet for a
total of a year-and-a-half and during
that time they report that they begin to feel better and they begin
to make lifestyle changes. At the end of the year-and-a-half we hope that those lifestyle changes are engrained in their daily lives. So now I keep fresh fruits and vegetables in
the refrigerator, I get the celery home
and I clean it and keep it in a bowl of water, and when I want something to crunch on I’ll
go and grab a stalk of celery instead
of grabbing maybe a cookie or a bag of chips. I’m not as grouchy.
I feel good about myself, you know, I see the weight coming off.
Being overweight is very stressful. And if I want it, it’s even better you know.

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