Published on September 15, 2014

Baptist DeSoto co-sponsors free wellness program for Mississippi families

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. - Baptist Memorial Hospital-DeSoto and Hernando Parks and Recreation are beginning its third Healthy Eating Active Living program, a free, eight-week wellness competition, on Sept. 25 at 5 p.m. at the Gale Center, 2601 Elm St. in Hernando, Miss.

The H.E.A.L. program, which is similar to the reality TV show "The Biggest Loser," is open to the public and offers weekly cash prizes to the individuals who lose the most weight and participate in the most activities. The program provides workouts for people of all skill levels, Baptist DeSoto offers blood pressure and body mass index checks, and Morrison Foods supplies eating tips.

"Baptist DeSoto is actively involved in the H.E.A.L. program as part of our commitment to the community," James Huffman, administrator and CEO of Baptist DeSoto, said. "This program is part of our systemwide charitable giving to help our communities become healthier places for families."

The program also includes support through weekly meetings with a certified trainer to counsel families on their eating habits and to monitor their progress. In addition, participating families receive a tool kit with nutritional education, information about proper eating habits and portion sizes, and a cookbook of healthy recipes.

"The program is geared toward the entire family being able to enjoy exercising together," Dolly Brechin, program director for the Hernando Parks and Recreation, said.

As a registered nurse, Stephanie Bush of Hernando recognizes the importance of living a fit lifestyle, so she enrolled her family in H.E.A.L.

"My husband lost 10 pounds, and I lost six pounds," said Bush. "But most importantly my children learned that staying healthy is a lifestyle, not just a temporary commitment."

For more information, visit or call 662-429-2688.

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