Situation
Wellness IN Wyoming (WIN Wyoming) is a state-wide initiative with more than 50 educators and health-care professionals representing public and private entities at the community, state, and university levels. The mission of WIN Wyoming is to educate people to respect body-size diversity and to enjoy the benefits of active living, pleasurable and healthful eating, and positive self-image. A survey sent in September 1999 to all 56 WIN Wyoming members and returned by 41 (73% response rate) yielded the results summarized below.



Job-related Impacts
In terms of the extent to which WIN Wyoming has influenced how respondents approach or carry out their work (with 2% not answering this question),

C 5% said "A lot"
C
49% said "Quite a bit"
C
34% said "Somewhat"
C
7% said "Not at all"
C
2% said "I’m not sure."

Written job-related comments from 30 respondents include the following:

C Increased sensitivity/acceptance that has influenced care or services to patients/clients

< We [county-wide program] are looking at weight control issues differently. We are stressing making changes for health rather than weight loss to clients interested in weight loss. We are more open minded about people of different sizes and shapes.

< The project has helped provide a balance and sensitivity that will influence the care that [clients] with BMIs [body mass indexes] over 25 or even 30 receive, i.e., take the focus off the number on the...scale and reemphasize healthy lifestyle changes.

< More awareness with...how our [practitioners in training] deal with patients.

C Influence related to educational aspects of respondents’ jobs

            Use or development of educational materials and presentations:

< Respondents noted use of WIN Wyoming’s mission and principles and related philosophy and concepts in nutrition education presentations and activities with preschoolers, school-aged children, and adults, and in handouts, newspaper articles, and radio programs.

< I try to incorporate WIN Wyoming principles into ALL my wellness efforts..."

            Sense of self as an educator

< I had been using this [WIN Wyoming] approach...but I think WIN Wyoming has increased my knowledge and confidence with this approach."

< As an educator, I also see how I may be perceived as an overweight person when I try to teach about nutrition or other topics.

C Personal changes that have affected work performance

< I’ve been exercising daily to improve my health...as a result I have more energy at work.


Impacts in Personal Life
In terms of the extent to which WIN Wyoming has influenced how respondents think, feel, or act in relation to themselves or other people (with 2% not answering this question)

C 12% said "A lot"
C
44% said "Quite a bit"
C
32% said "Somewhat"
C
5% said "Not at all"
C
5% said "I’m not sure."

Written comments related to personal life from 27 respondents include the following:

C Size acceptance, including increased sensitivity to others and to one’s self

            Other individuals

< I have become much more conscious and sensitive to discrimination and derogatory remarks about body size.

< I have tried to be more aware how I, as a lean person, come across to many of my friends and colleagues who struggle with weight.

            One’s self

< I’ve been trying to be "ok" with my body size—although it is large—realizing that I am still a valuable person even though I am not a size 7.

< I have gotten...obese in the past few years and rather than think strictly about appearance, I am trying to focus on becoming healthy in regard to diet and exercise.

C Changes in habits and attitudes regarding exercise and health

< I have learned a new concept—that overweight folks can be fit.

< I am trying to increase my exercise by walking three times per week.

C Changes in eating habits/attitudes, including improved choices and increased awareness

< I’ve been trying to eat better...but as a single person, I find it difficult...to cook for one.

< I’ve attempted to pay more... attention to my own satiety rather than an "eating clock."

< I am trying to develop a new relationship with food. I no longer read anything while I eat...I try to be aware of—and enjoy—what I’m eating while I’m eating it, thinking about textures, flavors, and colors. I also try to think about where the food has come from...

C Influence on others

< ...I’m seeing the importance of providing positive models for girls and women. I often forward the [WIN Wyoming] e-mail to my sisters who are in the health field.

< I am doing more acceptance of my own body—focusing on eating healthier vs. size of clothes. [I] want to set an example for my two girls.

< I am much more accepting of myself and others. I explain the concept of healthier at any weight to family members, and try to help them understand the facts about size differences. I am trying to work on the attitudes of people close to me.

For a list of current WIN Wyoming members, click here.

For more information about WIN Wyoming and its impacts, please contact Suzy Pelican, Food and Nutrition Specialist and WIN Wyoming Coordinator, University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service, Box 3354, Laramie, WY   82071; 307-766-5177; FAX: 307-766-3379; pelican@uwyo.edu.

 

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