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Lifestyle Change with Get Healthy Tompkins By Rob Mackenzie, MD, and Geoff Moore, MD

One of the long-term priorities of Tompkins County is sustainable health for all. By sustainable health we mean the ability of area residents of all ages to learn and adopt lifestyle behaviors that help prevent disease and lead to good health and long, productive lives.

To achieve this goal of sustainable health, each of us must pay attention to those health factors over which we have some control. What we eat, how active we are, whether or not we smoke cigarettes, and how we handle stress are examples of things we can control that can have a big impact on our health.

Cayuga Medical Center, in partnership with the Cayuga Center for Healthy Living, is now offering a user-friendly incentive program called Get Healthy Tompkins. This free, interactive web-based program is easy to use. It can help us engage in the healthy behaviors we know about, but which we sometimes put off. The program was developed with the support of our medical staff, the Tompkins County Health Planning Council, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, and health and wellness experts at Ithaca College and Cornell University.

What’s the driving force behind Get Healthy Tompkins?

Heart disease is the leading health problem in Tompkins County. Many factors contribute to heart disease, including poor eating habits, lack of exercise, stress, and carrying too much weight. Cayuga Medical Center is committed to battling this disease with as many proven strategies as possible. We have a responsibility not only to provide excellent clinical outcomes and the best customer service but also to help our community stay healthy in the first place.

How does Get Healthy Tompkins work?

Get Healthy Tompkins provides tools, resources, and educational materials to encourage each of us to be more proactive about our health. It also provides incentives (such as drawings for prizes) to encourage us to set reachable goals and take steps to increase our physical activity, improve our nutrition, and try other healthy behaviors. The program is designed to help our physicians, employers, and families join in the shared goal to reduce risk factors like obesity, diabetes, and smoking, and to adopt healthy behaviors like walking and substituting water for soda.

At the Get Healthy Tompkins site, you can create your own individualized information page to help you track your progress. The Health Library link contains in-depth information on hundreds of health conditions, prescription medications, FDA drug approvals and actions, self-help resources, and complementary medicine. The Calendar feature lists local health-related events and Get Healthy Tompkins information and deadlines. An e-Newsletter contains the latest information of interest from Cayuga Medical Center.

How do I join?

It’s easy to join. Using your Internet browser, just type in or you can Google Get Healthy Tompkins and reach us that way. Our goal is to engage everyone in Tompkins County with a few simple, straightforward ways to improve their health.

What if I need more in-depth help to change my behavior and reduce my risk factors?

The Cayuga Center for Healthy Living (CCHL) provides education, guidance and support for people with chronic health problems related to lifestyle risk factors, including individuals with cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, diabetes, and weight-related health problems. CCHL goes beyond the basics of Get Healthy Tompkins by providing a team of lifestyle management specialists to help people learn to manage their chronic health conditions and improve their health through meaningful change. You can ask your doctor for a referral or call CCHL for an appointment at (607) 252-359o.

Disease prevention is one of the most important components of comprehensive health care. And prevention is a cost-effective way to reduce health-care costs, for individuals and families, for businesses, and for the country as a whole. We are optimistic that Get Healthy Tompkins will be a valuable program to help area residents achieve sustainable health.

John Rudd is president and CEO of Cayuga Medical Center. Dr. Geoff Moore is the director of the Cayuga Center for Healthy Living, located at the Island Health Center on Taughannock Boulevard in Ithaca’s West End.

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