Mark Kiefer

Healthier Living

There's strength in numbers, especially where your health is concerned.

If you have a chronic condition, such as obesity or type 2 diabetes, your doctor probably has told you it's time to change your lifestyle. OSF Medical Group knows this can be tough to do. That's why it offers a FREE six-week course to help you start your Journey to Healthier Living.

Through the program, you'll meet other people with the same conditions who are facing the same daily challenges.

The class was developed by Stanford University to create sustainable, healthy lifestyle changes. OSF Saint Francis Medical Center Patient Care Manager Lori Brown and registered nurse Denise Hunt are specially trained in teaching the techniques, which follow the same model as an accountable care organization. "The goal is to see that the people walk away feeling empowered to make a change," they say.

Participant Mark Kiefer, an operations manager with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure, signed up to gain support and motivation to continue to eat right and exercise. He's been impressed with the results. "There's security in knowing there are people just like you," he says.

Through the class, Kiefer learned what questions to ask his doctor, discovered better techniques for relaxation, and continued to improve his exercise routine and eating habits.

Brown says she noticed the strong bonds formed between class members. "They got applause from each other. You could just see it in their faces when they actually met a goal."

Today, Kiefer's blood-sugar levels are controlled, and he's made lifelong friends. "On a scale of 1 to 10, the class was a 20 plus."