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Commissioner Fitzgerald Paves the Way for Healthier Employees

September 3, 2013
Originally published Feb. 13, 2012
 
Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., introduced to 2 Peachtree Public Health employees an innovative worksite wellness program that focuses on insulin. Dr. Fitzgerald believes that high insulin levels can lead to health issues like high blood-pressure, diabetes and obesity and that knowing how to control your insulin levels can help you stay healthy. Dr. Fitzgerald will lead the way in implementing a worksite wellness program that will make participants aware of their insulin levels, educate them on the health conditions those elevated levels can lead to and how to take steps to reduce their insulin. 
 
As a part of the new worksite wellness program, Dr. Fitzgerald held a Lunch and Learn encourage participants to think more about the foods that they put in their bodies and how some foods can increase a person's insulin levels.  
 
High insulin levels are the results of unhealthy food choices and not enough physical activity. Refined foods, especially carbs, produce sugar very quickly in the body, resulting in the pancreas secreting insulin to meet the demands of removing sugar from the bloodstream, according to researchers. In time, the insulin secreting cells get tired and stop working effectively.  
 
Insulin is the hormone from the pancreas that regulates carbohydrate metabolism and affects fat metabolism and fat storage according to health experts. The food you eat stimulates the amount of insulin in your body. 
  
 "I have a better understanding of how food choices, like white potatoes and French fries directly affect my insulin levels," said Ricky Livingston, Health Educator, who attended the Lunch and Learn. "I'm looking at ways to prepare sweet potatoes and yams rather than white potatoes to control my insulin levels and make my whole family healthy."

Lunch and Learn attendee Kimberly Redding, M.D., Director of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Programs agreed that Commissioner Fitzgerald gave really good strategies and ways we as Public Health employees can begin to change behaviors toward the food we eat.  "That's an important step in addressing our obesity epidemic," added Dr. Redding.

"I am excited that the Commissioner is leading staff to live the lifestyle that we promote," said Maria Fontelle, Program Consultant in the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Programs.

"I am excited to educate the employees of 2 Peachtree about their insulin levels and the steps they can take to keep them at healthy levels," Dr. Fitzgerald told PHWEEK. "I hope to see fantastic results from implementing this program at 2 Peachtree and I'm so excited to eventually share it with the rest of the state."