Hannah Orlowski, clinical nutrition manager and director of the Diabetes Care Center at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, holds up a model of what five pounds of fat may look like during a wellness luncheon at Albany State University on Thursday.
ALBANY, Ga. — As part of the institution’s annual faculty and staff conference taking place this week, the employees of Albany State University received a refresher course on healthy eating Thursday.
Hannah Orlowski, clinical nutrition manager and director of the Diabetes Care Center at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, gave a presentation at Albany State’s dining hall entitled “Scared Straight: Eat Healthy or Else.”
Some of the statistics Orlowski shared painted a picture of the lifestyle problems the American public faces. Roughly half of children get no exercise, while 25 percent of adults are completely sedentary, she said.
Sixty percent of adults are overweight or obese, and children born after the year 2000 have a 33 percent chance of developing diabetes in their lifetime, Orlowski said.
“Bad behavior has consequences,” she said. “What you put into your body may be harmful.”
Among the cases Orlowski said she has seen are an 18-year-old with 10 years left to live, a 29-year-old stroke victim now in a nursing home and a 7-year-old who weighs 88 pounds and is suffering from cholesterol problems.
“These are people living in our town,” she said. “I’ve seen seven overweight children in the last few weeks, and the parents don’t think they are fat. They say: ‘They are just big-boned.’”
During her presentation, Orlowski stressed reading food labels — particularly serving sizes — monitoring sodium intake, sticking to products with lighter fat content, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and endeavoring to fit dairy into a diet.
She also touched on the avoidance of fast foods and processed foods.
“You can eat it, just not all the time,” Orlowski said.
She also referred to some websites with more information on portion control and sugar intake: http://hp2010.nhlbihin.net/portion and www.sugarstacks.com.
The presentation was part of an initiative to promote worksite wellness, said Darrell Sabbs, community benefits coordinator at Phoebe.
“If (employers) have a healthy work place and healthy employees, there are so many benefits,” Sabbs said. “It’s cheaper for the employer because it cuts down on insurance costs.
“The employees (of ASU) guide and mentor young people. If they can catch on and practice healthy eating, they can influence younger generations.”
The perspective from university officials was similar.
“What better way to welcome the staff back than to teach them about healthy lifestyles?” said Connie Leggett, Albany State Title III director and co-chair of the faculty and staff conference. “(With everything else covered during the conference) we thought this element was important for having a well-rounded person.
“A healthy employee is a happy employee. We value the health of our employees. (A program like this) adds value to their well-being.”