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MMC's Mind-Body Wellness Center Receives Highmark Grant for Fitness Program Integrated with Recreational Music Making.

Meadville Medical Center’s Mind-Body Wellness Center recently received a $98,838 grant from the Highmark Foundation through the Highmark Healthy High 5 initiative to support a health promotion program for teenagers in Crawford County, encouraging them to live healthier lifestyles. “The HealthJAM focus is to empower teenagers (with the support of their parents) to adopt a healthy lifestyle through improved fitness, weight management, and enhanced self-esteem,” according to Barry Bittman, MD, CEO of the Mind-Body Wellness Center.

The HealthJAM program offers young people ages 13 to 17 an exciting opportunity to participate in intensive, fun-filled 12-week sessions that include a unique combination of exercise sessions, nutritional counseling and emotional support. The program is offered by the Mind-Body Wellness Center’s dedicated team of health professionals under the supervision of Dr. Bittman.

Offered in a group format, HealthJAM builds upon the camaraderie and the collective strengths of the group. This intensive program focuses on rational evidence-based exercises including cycling and recreational music making(RMM), as well as practical nutritional strategies, and emotional support to promote fitness, healthy nutrition and personal growth.

Building upon the recent success of the Healthiest Loser program, a weight management and lifestyle program for adults, HealthJAM encourages teens to discover their personal strengths while building their confidence to adopt and sustain a healthy lifestyle. Incentives for program participants are awarded based upon a specified combination of attendance, fitness improvements and risk factor reduction.

“Through the Highmark Healthy High 5 initiative, the Highmark Foundation is working with schools, parents and community organizations to provide opportunities that help children and adolescents grow mentally, physically and emotionally,” said Yvonne Cook, president of the Highmark Foundation. “HealthJAM. aligns with our efforts to educate and engage young people and their families in lifelong, healthy behaviors and we applaud their efforts.”

Dr. Bittman explains, “The striking prevalence of obesity and its associated challenges in western Pennsylvania has great potential to undermine the future viability of our healthcare system from many perspectives. Rational solutions are needed to promote healthy lifestyles in our youth. This formidable healthcare challenge must be addressed early on. I personally believe that this dedicated effort supported by a generous grant from the Highmark Foundation will translate into a replicable program that will serve as a guiding light for our nation’s healthcare system.”

For more information about the HealthJAM program, please contact Sherry Menold at the Mind-Body Wellness Center at 814-333-5062

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