Naturally Rockford: Coronary Health Improvement Project—CHIP for Life

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11128038911971.jpg’, ”, ‘Hans A. Diehl is the founder and director of the Coronary Health Improvement Project (CHIP).’);

The solution for every form of ailment always seems to be inside a capsule. Herein lies the problem. Pill popping is like cutting the top off a weed. The weed isn’t an eyesore anymore, but its roots can still cause problems. Most doctors concentrate on treating symptoms. They do not focus on prevention.

Cardiovascular epidemiologist, Dr. Hans Diehl, does. While attending Andrews University in Michigan as a pre-med student, the dean of Public Health told Diehl “the future of helping people will center around educating, motivating, and inspiring people to a healthy lifestyle.”

Diehl took this to heart and in 1988 initiated the CHIP program, which focuses on self-responsibility in eating and exercising. Diehl says, “Most adult diseases are largely lifestyle-related.” Living healthy can prevent and even reverse many disorders. Symptoms can be medicated, but the cause of symptoms, such as diabetes, can still affect health.

Diehl tells one heart-warming story of a lady who struggled with being overweight. Diets and pills didn’t work. Thirty-four different prescription pills combating symptoms of being overweight became part of her daily life. She worried she wouldn’t live long enough to raise her four children. Depression took over.

Then she began the CHIP program. With better eating habits, better mental health (an offspring of the CHIP program involves psychological needs), she lost 55 lbs. since last October and looks forward to the future with a smile. She is down to three pills a day. Instead of adding to her list of pills, CHIP quelled the roots of her problem, making her into a healthier and happier person.

Diehl’s mission involves making Rockford the hub of CHIP. He wants to make Rockford the healthiest city in the U.S., as well as a training center for future inductees and trainers (economy booster…?). He hopes community support will implicate CHIP into all local schools (plans for future CHIP-based programs in Belvidere schools are being discussed), businesses, and restaurants.

Diehl truly cares. He spends much of his time forging new paths for public health. Diehl says, “you can put more energy into these time-consuming, energy-consuming efforts if your cup gets filled with joy in return.” His energy level seems to be quite high.

From the April 6-12, 2005, issue

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