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In the Spotlight

Overweight? How can VA help?

By Kenneth R. Jones, PhD
National Program Director for Weight Management
VA National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
VHA Office of Patient Care Services

Almost everyone who is carrying extra weight would like to drop the weight and keep it off. Right now, VA is making a special effort to screen every patient and to encourage patients with weight-related health risks to enter the MOVE! Weight Management Program for Veterans.

How can I tell if I have weight-related health risks?

When your nurse takes your vital signs (like your temperature and blood pressure) they may also check your height and weight. This information is placed into your electronic medical record. A simple formula that uses your height and weight allows the computer to measure your body mass index (BMI). A BMI between 25 and 30 is considered overweight. When your BMI is over 30, you are considered to be obese. This is a risk factor for diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. When you are obese or overweight and experience weight-related problems, you will be invited to join MOVE!

What is MOVE!?

MOVE! is an evidence-based way to manage weight .that has been tailored for veterans. There are no magic bullets, but VA will support you in managing your weight. VA will help by:

Losing 5-10% of your weight is enough to lower your weight-related risks and to help you feel better.

What kind of support is there?

Through MOVE! a choice of either telephone or group session support is offered. If you need more, there are other treatment options.

I have co-payment charges for some of my VA care. What is the co-payment for MOVE!?

As of June 2008, VA has eliminated co-payments for Vet's who participate in MOVE!. VA is investing in your health.

What are the key ingredients for losing weight and keeping it off?

  1. Set Goals: Set long-term and weekly weight loss goals. For the long haul, shoot for 10%. Losing ½ to 2 pounds a week is reasonable.

  2. Select a healthy diet plan, and stick with it. There are several healthy plans, but there isn't one that works best for everyone. Discuss a plan with your doctor or dietitian, and consider your lifestyle and tastes. The key is to choose a plan.

  3. Make a goal to gradually increase your physical activity. This has many benefits, and one of the benefits is burning extra calories. Ultimately, losing weight means taking in fewer calories and burning more calories. VA will provide you with a pedometer to track your physical activity and make increasing your physical activity easier.

  4. Self monitor. After making plans, use logs to track your weekly weight, your daily food consumption and your daily physical activity (steps). The more you know about what you are doing, the better control you will have over your weight.

  5. Use the MOVE! team for help in solving problems and sharing your successes. We want to help you improve your health.

  6. Once you achieve your goals, make a plan for keeping the weight off. You can do this through healthy eating, regular physical activity, and keeping in touch with your VA healthcare team.

What can I do right now?

Complete the MOVE! 23 questionnaire. Print your personal report, and take it to your next primary care visit. Tell the team that you are ready to get into MOVE!.

Definition: A pedometer is a small device that counts the number of "steps" you take that can be worn on your waistband or belt.

Learn More

Learn more about MOVE!

Get Fit for Life (Video from HealthierUS Veterans) (My HealtheVet)

Beneficios de la práctica regular de actividad física (Medline Plus) (en Español)

Exercising for a Healthy Life (Medline Plus)


Updated/Reviewed: January 30, 2009