Northwestern Medicine

Lake Forest Health & Fitness Center Wins National Award for Innovation

Lake Forest Hospital November 04, 2010

“Wellness 180” honored as the year’s most pioneering health and wellness program.

LAKE FOREST, IL –  Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Health & Fitness was among a select number of facilities to win a 2010 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Medical Fitness Association. The award recognized the center’s “Wellness 180” program as the most innovative program of the year to be run by a health care-affiliated fitness center. The center is affiliated with Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital.

“This is an incredible achievement for us,” said Jennifer Labovitz, who designed the program in 2007 and now serves as its director. “But we would not have won this award without the program’s remarkable participants. They worked hard to follow the program, and many truly saw a 180-degree change in their health and wellness as a result.”

“Wellness 180” empowers participants by giving them a way to ward off heart disease, Type II Diabetes and illnesses that often affect those who are overweight with high blood pressure or blood sugar levels. The twice-a-week fitness program is unique because it spans a whole year, unlike many commercial fitness programs that follow a six-to-eight-week regimen. What makes it even more innovative is that a nurse measures resting blood pressure, blood lipids and even flexibility and strength on a regular basis throughout the program.

“This program is not solely about weight changes,” Labovitz said. “It’s about the whole package and ensuring that the weight loss equates to better overall health.”

Each participant works with four main staff members: a clinical psychologist who works with participants on stress eating; a dietitian who helps participants log their daily caloric intake; a nurse who performs the blood work and prescribes medication if necessary; and an exercise specialist who designs the workout components of the program.

Nearly three years after its inception, the number of program participants and physician referrals is still increasing steadily. The Northwestern Medicine Lindenhurst Health & Fitness Center, also affiliated with Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, recently launched its own version of the program.

“We are excited to grow this program and to bring more people the opportunity to use fitness as a way to achieve better overall health,” Jake McKelvy, Executive Director of the Lake Forest and Lindenhurst Health and Fitness Centers, says. “We have believed in this program all along, and this recognition from the Medical Fitness Association is a great testament to the program.”

The Medical Fitness Association is a national organization that promotes medically-integrated fitness centers and focuses on the value of clinical ties to a hospital. These annual awards aim to recognize leaders and innovators in the medical health and fitness sector. The awards highlight the sector's growing contribution to promoting overall health, fighting obesity and integrating clinical programs into a comprehensive approach to fitness and rehabilitation.

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