Inspired To Lose by Mark Newstadt MD

Inspired To Lose by Mark Newstadt MD

Inspired by the significant weight loss by a fellow staff member, the administrator of Kaplan Barron Pediatrics suggested that our office initiate a biggest loser contest with a financial incentive. At that time, we did not know that this program would prove to be a successful office wellness model, with improvements at each succeeding phase. Fourteen months ago, the program began, directed by our office administrator with assistance from our lab manager. The office is currently running the sixth phase of this program. Each phase has been a little different in terms of exercise options, points and incentives. We have had teams and individuals competing for the title of biggest loser. Points can be earned for weight loss or maintenance of weight (in those employees with normal BMI) and exercise in and out of the office. Some phases have required monetary contributions and small penalties for weight gain. The exercise option was only incorporated this year. Classes are now led four times a week at noon by our office manager or lab manager. Money has been contributed by individual employees and the physician employers into pools; individuals or teams who have earned the most points through weight control or exercise receive the winning prize. Our office wellness program has been very successful, resulting in significant weight loss in several employees (180 lbs total so far), increased involvement in exercise in and out of the office, improved morale and improved worker productivity. The success of our program has resulted in a reduction in our health insurance premiums. An office wellness program encourages employees to lead healthier and more active lifestyles. More than 80% of businesses in the United States with at least 50 employees offer some type of office wellness program. More than 60% of adult Americans are overweight according to the Centers of Disease Control. They continue to promote office wellness programs as a way to improve health and quality of life for workers while reducing healthcare costs. The Maine Move And Improve program reduced employee inactivity from 50% to 5%. Unhealthy workers cost employers an average of $11,196 per year according to a survey reported in National Real Estate Investing in February 2011. Office wellness programs offer convenient affordable ways to get or stay fit. Programs can vary greatly and be designed according to the needs and interests of the staff. Office wellness programs are not just about diet and exercise. Wellness includes emotional, spiritual and physical wellbeing. In addition to helping employees meet nutritional and exercise goals, an effective office wellness program should develop camaraderie and help to relieve stress. While employees are not required to participate, incentives may be provided for participation. Allowing employees to have input into the structure of the program as well as the incentives provided will help to make the staff more involved, committed and successful. Strategies encouraging competition and fun games help employees to stay committed to completion. Integral components of office wellness programs may include exercise classes, walking, zumba, jazzercise, gym memberships, nutrition classes, healthier food in the workplace and tobacco cessation classes. Monitoring of weight, body mass index, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol may be included. Low fat food tasting sessions can introduce many new tasty options to individuals who had not previously experimented with these. Healthy cooking classes can be hosted to educate employees and families. Other useful options may include utilizing outside speakers periodically to inspire and educate the staff. Barriers should be removed to maximize participation in exercise programs. This may include the provision of shower facilities or flexibility in class schedules. Fitness and nutrition websites or apps such as My Fitness Pal can be used to monitor caloric intake and expenditure accurately. Teamwork and peer pressure provide positive enhancement in wellness programs. People do not want to let their fellow workers down. Team members put positive pressure on each other to succeed and meet weight and exercise goals on both a personal level and as a member of a team. It is important to provide incentives for participation as well as for reaching goals. Not everyone can be a biggest loser, nor reach their goal weight. Incentives such as points, gift cards or prizes can motivate more people to be involved. Establishing the right incentives will motivate employees to be involved in the wellness program and to succeed in reaching their individual and team weight, health goals and fitness goals. According to the Incentive Research Foundation in August 2011, involvement of employees in office wellness programs will increase from 20% to 80% if attractive incentives are provided. Incentives may be comprised of monetary or travel awards, gift cards, fitness clothes or equipment, low calorie recipe books, massages, paid time off, discounts on health insurance or contributions to a Health Savings Fund. Employer surveys may be used to identify the most popular and practical incentives, allowing office wellness programs to be more inclusive and successful. Workers may provide suggestions based on personal experience with smoking cessation, weight control and exercise. For an office wellness program to be successful, the employees’ progress needs to be tracked weekly with results openly visible to all involved so that comparisons can be made with other individuals and team members. Success can be measured by the monitoring of physical measures (blood pressure, pulse, weight, BMI, strength, flexibility and waist circumference), psychological measures (employee satisfaction, morale), and productivity measures (decrease in absenteeism and increase in productivity). In the office of Kaplan Barron Pediatrics, we hope to continue to improve and expand our wellness program while we constantly monitor its success. It is inspiring to see each other become slimmer, more fit and more toned; these changes have led to improved morale in the office. Food served at our office meetings is much healthier and many of our patients and their families have been inspired by our success. In light of the ever-increasing obesity epidemic, especially in the state of Kentucky, it is imperative to provide a workplace that fosters happy, healthy employees by approaching their well-being and satisfaction in a holistic way. A well executed office wellness program is one way to accomplish this essential goal for a successful workplace. Good luck and stay fit!

Salud to Family Mealtime


As a pediatrician in a busy suburban office, I see an increasing number of adolescents and teenagers with mental illness. Rates of anxiety, depression, and behavior disorders have doubled over the last thirty years as teenagers tend to deal with more stress, demands, and peer pressure. At the same time, studies of American families show a decline in meals eaten at home as a family.

Is there a connection?

Less than half of North American families eat dinner together regularly, this having declined by 33% over the last twenty years. Increasingly busy work schedules and a growing number of families in which both parents work have resulted in the rising trend of frequent dining out. This pattern could be responsible for significantly affecting family dynamics. 

While it is certainly possible to eat out together as a family, restaurants are often very noisy and not conducive to easy communication and family bonding.

 A family meal is the perfect time to communicate and share the struggles and triumphs that challenge our daily lives. This is also a time to reveal concerns, air grievances, and ask for help when needed, creating an environment that is optimal for mental health.

Family meals allow parents to talk with their children in a relaxed, stress-free environment and show them that they love and care for them. Kids have an opportunity to express their thoughts and opinions, making them feel confident and important at home, even if that’s not the case at school. In turn, family meals give parents the opportunity to learn to know and trust their children better.

Furthermore, teens who eat family dinners more than 3 times a week are more likely to eat healthily and less likely to be overweight. They perform better academically and have more trusting and healthy relationships with one another and with their parents. They have fewer emotional and behavioral problems and are less likely to indulge in risky behaviors.

In addition to the impact that dining out can have on a family’s health and well-being, people who habitually eat out may also feel the burden in their wallets. The average American spends half of their food budget on meals prepared outside the home. Americans are eating out more than ever before, now ingesting more than one-third of their calories from food prepared at restaurants. This is almost double that of thirty years ago. More than half eat out three or more times a week, and 12% eat out seven or more times a week.

What is the reason for this trend? Today, more people have less time for food preparation due to longer commutes, working spouses, and decreased cooking knowledge.

In addition to the social, financial, and mental health repercussions, meals outside the home tend to be higher in calories, fat, sugar, and salt,  creating a recipe for potential weight gain.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 68% of Americans are overweight and over one-third are obese. Twenty percent of children (6-11 years old) and eighteen percent of teens are obese.

The diminishing trend of family dinners seems to coincide with the rise in eating out and the increasing incidence of anxiety, depression, and behavior disorders.

Imagine sitting down and connecting with your spouse and children in a positive and meaningful way on a regular basis. This is likely to result in not only healthier relationships, better grades, and reduced smoking, alcohol, and drug use, but also a revelation of the supreme importance of family.

Family meals are vitally important to our mental health. Carving out dedicated family meal times can have significant rewards in the long run. Eating in can provide additional benefits to our health and nutrition. Combine the two for the ultimate recipe for good health – BON APPETIT!

Patient Survery


The office conducted a patient satisfaction survey during the month of August 2014 and then again January 2015.  The overall rating for the office were as follows

                                                    August 2014                        January 2015


Overall office                                   1.22                                   1.22

Quaility medical care                    1.19                                   1.21

Overall rating of provider/nurse   1.19                                  1.19


The rating scale was      1     Excellent  

                                          2     Very good

                                          3     Good

                                          4     Fair

                                          5     Poor


The office strives to improve patient care and services.  We are implementing policies and procedures to ensure that timely, friendly and accurate service is provided to you.