VA MOVE! Program helps Veterans lose Weight - Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System
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Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System


VA MOVE! Program helps Veterans lose Weight

Three people post for a photo

Army Veteran Paul Papin (left), MOVE! participant, Melinda Smiley, VA Dietitian and Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System MOVE! Coordinator and Marine Corps Veteran Gary Holland, MOVE! participant, pose for a photo.

By Tiffani Mathews Public Affairs Intern
Friday, January 11, 2019

A new year brings about motivation for change and for many people that change is to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. Designed to improve the lives of Veterans, VA MOVE! is the largest and most comprehensive weight management program associated with a medical care system in the United States.

Melinda Smiley, Dietitian and MOVE! Coordinator at the Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System (EOVAHCS) started the program at EOVAHCS in 2006 when it was being implemented at all VA medical centers. Beginning with nothing more than a manual, Smiley has witnessed first-hand the growth and impact the program has had on Veterans, with approximately 200 Veterans using the program options.

Smiley is also working with primary care mental health to incorporate a stress management and exercise portion into the curriculum to better meet Veteran needs.

“Almost 80% of Veterans receiving care in VHA facilities are overweight or obese,” said Smiley. “Our goals are to annually screen every Veteran who receives care at VA facilities for obesity, refer individuals to our MOVE! program, and make available different treatment options that fit the needs and preferences of our Veterans.”

While there are already multiple ways to be involved with MOVE!, a new option is now being introduced called MOVE! Telephone Lifestyle Coaching (TLC). TLC is a 12-session program that is offered via telephone call with a dietitian to serve Veterans who need assistance but are unable to physically attend a group or have difficulty attending regularly.

“MOVE! teaches us how to eat correctly and take responsibility for what we do,” said Army Veteran Paul Papin, MOVE! participant. “It is an encouraging environment and I don’t have to worry if I gain a pound or two, we are just told to keep moving forward and don’t get discouraged.”

While many Veterans begin participating in the program to simply become more knowledgeable about nutrition and physical activity, many contribute their weight loss success and better quality of life to MOVE!  

“I really like VA MOVE!,” said Marine Corps Veteran Gary Holland. “I am eating better and I am more active now because of it. I have lost 40 pounds and was even able to get the hip replacement I needed because I dropped the weight. I would recommend the program to any Veteran needing help losing weight and wanting support.”

With the help of your MOVE! care team, Veterans can reduce health risks, prevent or reverse certain diseases, improve your quality of life, and even live longer!

To schedule an appointment, please contact:

Muskogee: 888-397-8387, ext. 3214
Tulsa: 888-397-8387, ext. 2754


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