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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Veteran Praises VA Weight Loss Program

February 1, 2011


Before and After Pictures 

Before joining the VA MOVE! Program, Army Veteran Michael Ringenberg weighed 225 pounds. Now, down to 190 pounds, he says he is in better health now at 63 years old than he was at 36. 
Photos: Fran Burke, Public Affairs and courtesy Michael Ringenberg

Army Veteran Michael Ringenberg decided he wanted to be healthier, reduce his medications, and live a long time.  During a visit with his primary care physician at the Conroe VA Outpatient Clinic, the MOVE! Program was recommended. 

Managing Overweight and/or Obesity for Veterans Everywhere (MOVE!) is a national weight management program designed to help Veterans lose weight, keep it off, and improve their health. 

“When I first weighed in, I was 225 pounds. I said that can’t be right, that’s the weight of a small fullback in football,” said Ringenberg. “During the class, I took notes, really listened to the dietitian, and started setting goals for myself.”

The MOVE! Program teaches Veterans how to become healthier by emphasizing health and well-being as achievable goals. Through a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach using behavioral changes, nutrition, and physical activity, Veterans individually tailor the program to meet their specific goals. 

“The most challenging part for me was realizing that this was a lifestyle change, not a diet.  The MOVE! dietitians taught me how to choose nutritious foods that were best for my body, how to read food labels, and that making small changes would lead to big changes,” said Ringenberg. “I set a goal to walk four miles this year and I have already exceeded that.  Next year, my goal is to walk for breast cancer awareness.”

The VA serves more than six million veterans of whom about 70 percent are overweight or obese. Approximately 30 percent are obese. The MOVE! Program is the largest and most comprehensive weight management and physical activity program associated with a medical care system in the United States.

“I’m down to 190 pounds and still have goals I want to achieve so I’m not done yet. I highly recommend the MOVE! Program,” said Ringenberg. “I feel I am in better health now at 63 years old than I was at 36.” 

The MOVE! Program at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center addresses three of the nine Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Healthy Living Messages which include “Maintain a Healthy Weight,” “Eat Wisely,” and “Be Physically Active.”  The program allows the patient to participate in personal goal setting.  Any Veteran receiving care at the VA and wants assistance in managing their weight can participate. 

For more information about the MOVE! Program or to talk with a registered dietitian about weight loss strategies, call 713-791-1414, ext. 4295.

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