Teaching Healthy Living Across the Globe

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There is a lot of expertise on the clinical staff at Methodist Health System. But these physicians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals don't stop caring for others when they leave the hospital. They're going to other parts of the world to be the living, breathing embodiment of our mission to save and improve lives with compassionate, quality health care.

Our Mission2Medicine blog series shares the inspiring stories of how clinicians on our medical staff are participating in mission trips - whether religiously affiliated or not - and serving in extraordinary ways.

Janice Stone, BSN, RN, CBN, is one of the many people who take this mission to heart. In January of this year, Janice, a bariatric coordinator at Methodist Dallas Medical Center's Weight Management Institute, packed her bags and grabbed her passport for a mission trip that took her to Hyderabad, India. Partnering with an organization that teaches business and entrepreneurial skills, Janice leveraged her knowledge in nutrition and health to teach others how to live a healthier lifestyle.

The Impact of a Healthy Workforce

Why is nutrition and healthy living so important in a business course? A healthy workforce is one of the key strategies in overcoming poverty. The World Health Organization attributes a healthy workforce with several factors that encourage economic growth. For the individual, a healthy lifestyle contributes to improved employability, job growth and ensures the success of future generations through raising a healthy family. For the business owner, a healthy workforce leads to low absenteeism, increased morale, reduced employee turnover and increased productivity. It strengthens and secures a company's future growth.

The First Step to Healthy Living

Janice's class included close to 20 students from all over India ranging from 16 to 36 years of age. Her week-long course kicked-off the business seminar and covered the importance and benefits of a healthy workforce, what a healthy diet looks like and how physical activity plays a role in healthy living. Students actively participated in daily walks and fun competitions among classmates, but it was the lectures that caught the attention of her students, especially those interested in the food industry.

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"They were completely surprised with the nutrition of some of the foods they prepared and cooked daily," Janice said. "Their diets consisted of low protein, high carbohydrate meals, which could put them at risk for developing diabetes in the future."

India, a country of 1.2 billion people, is second in the world for diabetes diagnoses. More than 65 million Indians live with the disease, an increase of 15 million in the last six years, according to the International Diabetes Federation. The Indian Heart Association estimates that more than 100 million Indians will be diagnosed with diabetes by 2030.

"Realizing their diet, I made it a point to offer healthier meal options, options that decreased the amount of carbohydrates and increased the number of lentils and vegetables," she said.

A Mission to Make a Difference

While only for a week, Janice's course was an eye-opener for many of her students. Few understood the value of a healthy diet, let alone how it affects business and success. Janice's mission to improve lives did exactly that. At the end of the session, the seminar organizer took time to share some feedback.

"He said that he could see that students were interested, and that they understood how they too could potentially change their eating habits for the better," she said. "For me, this mission trip was a blessing to have the opportunity to help others. They are wonderful and kind people, and I would go back and teach the course again."

Providers at Methodist live out our mission here in North Texas as well. To help bring vital services to Methodist, visit the Methodist Health System Foundation or the Methodist Richardson Medical Center Foundation.

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