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Vermont Offers Healthier Living Workshops

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

A vast majority of patients who report back on their health after completing a Healthier Living Workshop say that their health is either good or better than before they went through the program.

The free, six-week workshops, started in 2006 as part of the Vermont Blueprint for Health, give Vermonters an opportunity to learn about their chronic conditions and take a more active role in managing their overall health. Nearly 900 people have completed the workshops, which are now available statewide.

“People with chronic conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and asthma who make the effort to particate in the workshops come out of the program feeling empowered about their overall health,” said Craig Jones, MD, executive director of the Vermont Blueprint for Health at the Department of Health. “We are seeing improvement in nearly every category we measure, including a drop in visits to a doctor’s office, less fatigue and pain, and improved strength, flexibility and endurance. The program works.”

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During National Public Health Week, the Health Department is encouraging any Vermonter with a chronic condition to sign up and commit to 2.5 hours each week to the program.

Healthier Living Workshops, a proven program developed by Stanford University, helps people become better self-managers. The workshop teaches you how to talk with health care providers, manage symptoms and medications, and deal with frustration and stress.

More than half of all Vermont adults statewide have one or more chronic conditions, with the number sharply increasing with age. An estimated 80 percent of Vermont's health care spending is for chronic disease. Major risk factors for chronic illness are tobacco use, poor nutrition, physical inactivity and alcohol use.

The Blueprint for Health is a public-private partnership implemented by the Vermont Department of Health that includes state government, health insurance plans, business and community leaders, health care providers and consumers. The program is built on the premise that the prevention of chronic illness, coupled with improved care, will help Vermonters live healthier lives and reduce the overall demand for costly medical services.