BID Needham Teams Up for Healthy Hearts

Date: September 20, 2005

With the number of overweight and obese Americans reaching epidemic proportions and physical inactivity common, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital - Needham has joined forces with two respected fitness centers to provide patients with support as they strive to adopt healthier lifestyles. "It is becoming increasingly important for individuals to adopt some kind of exercise regimen to prevent, recover from or lessen the impact of a number of health problems that can be associated with being overweight and inactive." Said Sr. Joseph Kannam, Chief of Cardiology at BID-Needham. Medical issues associated with weight include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, some forms of cancer, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis. BID-Needham's partnership with the Dedham Health and Athletic Club (DHAC) in Dedham and HealthFit in Needham can help individuals keep their health-related New Year's resolutions. They are especially helpful for people with heart issues. DHAC's "Healthy Heart," a supervised exercise program using state-of-the-art equipment, provides a critical first step toward a healthier lifestyle. The program caters to individuals who have had a cardiac event, those who have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, and those with cardiac risk factors but no evidence of cardiovascular disease. "Typical cardiac rehabilitation programs have a set timeframe and number of visits," according to Dr. Randy Averback, a BID-Needham cardiologist who serves as Medical Director for Healthy Heart. "The program was developed to go beyond standard rehab to help patients make a lifestyle change. We want patients to change the way they think about what they do everyday for the rest of their lives." Healthy Heart is a self-pay program for which BID-Needham cardiologists or other physicians write and "exercise prescription." Prospective Healthy Heart participants then meet individually with a trained exercise physiologist at DHAC to develop an individual exercise program. Healthy Heart participants exercise within a discreet, well-supervised, safe and comfortable workout gym equipped with highly specialized monitors that track each individuals workout performance, blood pressure, and heart rate. HealthFit, located just steps from BID-Needham, provides a personalized workout facility and highly qualified staff to support individuals making healthy lifestyle changes. HealthFit runs an exercise and diabetes program, an exercise programs for individuals with cardiac issues, and a strength training program for seniors. Just recently, HealthFit created the Lifestyle Change Resource Center, providing professional lifestyle counseling and a list of resources. Both health club partnerships are designed to help people actually achieve the healthier lifestyle they dream about. April 21, 2005