Shedding those pesky pandemic pounds

Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 6:27 PM EST
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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - In 2009, Carolyn Adams had an idea.

“My grandmother on her death bed, she said, I want you to come back after you graduate, after you retire, come back to this place and take care of the people in this community,” Adams said.

And so the Estella Byrd Whitman Wellness and Community Resource Center in Ocala was created.

The neighborhood clinic officially opened in 2018.

“We’ll continue to serve the under served because it’s needed. We’ll continue to serve the uninsured because it’s needed,” Adams said.

According to a recent study by the American Psychological Association, 42 percent of U.S. adults reported weight gain since the start of the pandemic.

“I have patients that come in to see me, and they say since COVID hit, I’ve noticed I’ve put on 15, 20 pounds,” Nurse Practitioner, Shaqwana McCottry said.

It’s something providers at the Heart of Florida Health Center have noticed.

McCottry said weight can have an impact on both your mental and physical health.

“When you exercise, when you eat healthy, it boosts your immune system so your body s more able to handle a virus such as COVID,” McCottry said.

The more over weight you are, the more serious your COVID symptoms are likely to be, and greater your chances are of being hospitalized or ending up in an ICU, Hospitalist at HCA Florida Ocala Hospital, Anish Khanna said.

“One of the biggest reasons why people do get very sick from COVID is lung illness. It’s harder to breathe if you’re heavier versus if you have less weight to support on top of a pneumonia, or the virus that might be there, so again not having to fight off your weight and the virus,” Khanna said.

Khanna said, a combination of diet and exercise will help you she those pandemic pounds.

“There’s a lot of at home workouts that you can do, video tapes, that sort of thing if you’re unable to get out, but just walking 30 minutes a day, high intensity is a good place to start,” he said.

Back at he neighborhood clinic, Adams said she’s addressing the issue by coordinating a ‘COVID weight loss challenge’.

“We have a lot of activities planned, and we’re going to be set up at the Croskey Center,” Adams said.

The challenge will run from May to July and is $250 to enter. There will also be another check-in in Jan. to see participants have kept the weight off.

Adams is asking for sponsors to help patients with that entry fee.

To register or to sponsor a patient call one of the numbers listed below:

Carolyn Adams cell phone: 954-562-2617

Dr. Pamela: 352-208-3151

Wellness Center office: 352-875-2226

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