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Every step you take, they'll be watching your weight

6:25 AM, Jan 3, 2008   |    comments
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The one-year fitness program is being offered to 5,000 members of the public employees' retirement association.

Participants are supplied with a small activity monitor that's clipped onto the shoe to keep track of footsteps from walking or running.

A radio signal is emitted from that small clip on the foot to a device that plugs into your computer, which then updates activity on a personalized web page.

Canvassing the cubicles at National Jewish Hospital's call centers, Rich French wears the shoe clip, as one of the first participants in the program.

When he's not on his feet, French takes a quick glance at his computer to see his latest totals.

"I check it multiple times during the day to make sure that I'm meeting my activity goals and if I'm not, then I know, 'heck, I better take my lunch break and go out there and get a walk in," said French, National Jewish Hospital systems manager.

Patients also keep a food journal to tally the number of daily calories they're consuming, and a scale is sent home to monitor their weight.

"We're actually watching what they eat. We're watching how much weight they're gaining. We're watching how much activity they do," said Dr. David Tinkelman, vice president at National Jewish Hospital.

As the participants lose weight, they are also in touch with a counselor on the phone who has a psychology and nutrition background to provide personal coaching.

"When people do this all by themselves, they'll do it for a while and then they're going to fall off it," said Tinkelman.

The new program is an expanded version of GetFit Colorado, a six-month program that was designed for rural Colorado residents.

The hospital says 90 percent of participants had lost weight.

French is proving to be a successful statistic so far in the latest version.

He's already lost 25 pounds, and says he hopes the new healthier routine will help him cut down on healthcare costs in the future.

"Hopefully in the long run, it'll give me a longer life," said French.

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