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Hospital holds wellness conference

July 10, 2007

More than 100 people gathered for Washington County Hospital's Nutrition and Wellness Conference on June 20. Focusing on wellness across the lifespan and prevention of chronic disease, the conference featured various speakers, healthy meals, some light physical activity and roundtable discussions.

Earl Stoner, Washington County Health Department health officer, presented information on the prevalence of obesity in Washington County and its effect on diseases and health conditions. Dr. David Solberg reported that 95 percent of being overweight or obese is not genetic. He said that poor nutrition cannot only cause obesity, but can also cause heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, malnutrition and osteoporosis.

Destiny Moats, a certified medical assistant, said she recently started a diabetes class at Newman, Wooster, Kass, Bradford, McCormack & Hurwitz, a physician practice in Hagerstown. She said that the conference has helped her "learn how everything ties together. Obesity affects so many things."

Keynote speaker Lorraine Bosse-Smith, a leadership consultant, national speaker and fitness professional, provided steps individuals can take to achieve and maintain good health. "It's never too late, no matter what your age, to make a change," she said.

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Becki Weir, program coordinator in the Jack and Anna Hershey Education Center at Washington County Hospital, said that the conference was unique because it focused on steps that people can start taking today to make a change, and modeled those actions.

"We provided a healthy breakfast and lunch to attendees, and everyone was invited to take a group walk around the campus at Robinwood Medical Center over a portion of the lunch break," she said.

In the afternoon, participants met in small groups based on interests, such as how to increase physical activity, affordable options for healthy nutrition and how to motivate others. The conference concluded with a discussion about the Nutrition and Physical Activity Partnership of Washington County's community campaign, Health for Every Body. The campaign is slated to begin this fall and interested members of the audience were encouraged to become involved.

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