Compared to Georgia and U.S. averages, obesity rates and prevalence of chronic disease are typically higher in South Georgia counties. In fact, obesity is the common denominator with many disease states prevalent in Thomas County, including heart disease, stroke, COPD, sleep disorders, vascular disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, spine problems and other conditions.

The need to improve the health of Thomas County residents and to reverse negative health trends is in our collective best interest. 

And it’s the top priority for Live Better, the Archbold-led collaborative of key community leaders and partners focused on improving the overall health Thomas County residents. 

This week, Live Better will kick off Live Better Fit (LB Fit). The 25-week wellness program is a collaboration of local businesses and gyms that are committed to teaching people how to lead a healthier and more active lifestyle, which will in turn reduce obesity and improve overall health. 

“Though there are many existing independent health, wellness and exercise resources available in Thomas County, we realize it can be often be confusing and overwhelming for a person to know where to start, and even which program would be most beneficial to help meet their individual weight loss goals,” said Todd Bennett, Archbold Clinical Outreach Manager. 

The reality is successful weight-loss is multi-faceted. To lose weight safely, people benefit best from having access to medical supervision, nutrition education and guidance from a licensed dietitian, as well as exercise and fitness mentorship provided by qualified professionals they can trust. All these components are available in Thomas County, but aren’t always utilized in a collaborative manner. 

“One of our goals with LB Fit is to create awareness of the locally available resources that, when used together, can improve the health of our community members, and reduce obesity,” said Bennett.  

LB Fit, which officially kicked off June 3, will be comprised of 10 participants who were chosen to represent local gyms that are current Live Better partners. Upon enrollment in the program, each participant underwent free health screenings including measurements of height, weight and body measurements, as well as a lipid panel, and blood pressure and glucose tests performed by Archbold clinicians. 

Throughout the 25-week program, exercise and fitness mentorship will be provided to each participant by their respective Live Better partner gym. Participating gyms include BodyTrac, Factor X Fitness, Planet Fitness, Thomasville Crossfit, Townie: A Fitness Community, and the Thomasville YMCA.

Live Better partner Morrison Healthcare has provided a dietitian for the program, who will create and oversee nutrition plans tailored to each individual, in order to help them meet their weight loss and nutrition goals. The dietitian also will meet with each participant once a month for measurement and follow-up nutrition consults as needed. 

Throughout the duration of the program, LB Fit participants will also receive wellness education and access to a private, online support group. 

“By providing access to all these components, we hope participants will develop a strong foundation for a life-long healthier lifestyle, while reducing obesity, and preventing or reversing chronic conditions caused by obesity,” said Bennett.

At the end of the 25-week program, participants will have a final health screen to measure their progress. Participants also will be treated to a celebration with family and friends. 

The 10 participants who were selected to participate in the program and to represent their Live Better gym include: Anne Marie Dixon, Factor X Fitness; Robert Gilmore, Planet Fitness; Debbie Campbell, Planet Fitness; Rick Barnes, Thomasville YMCA; Kyle Register, Thomasville YMCA; Leslie Strickland, Thomasville Crossfit; Wendy Knight, BodyTrac Thomasville; Brittany Stone, BodyTrac Thomasville; and Chris and Gina Curry, Townie: A Fitness Community.

Community members can follow the journey of each LB Fit participant, documented weekly on their individual participant blog. 

For more information about the program or to learn more about the participants, visit www.archbold.org/lbfit.