Live Healthy Appalachia Chipping Away

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Healthy eating and Appalachia are not words normally used in the same sentence.

However, that is starting to change through the efforts of the organization Live Healthy Appalachia in Athens.

More than a hundred people gathered recently in a church in The Plains, much to the delight of Tom Kostohryz, Founder and Board Chair of Live Healthy Appalachia.

The non-profit group served-up good-for-you food and a big helping of the Complete Health Improvement Program, CHIP.

"We've had 170 people go through the CHIP program here in Athens and we've seen great strides in their biometic measurements," says Kostohryz. "We've had a few testimonials this evening about people who have gotten off their diabetes medicine, blood pressure medications and so on, as a result of taking making better choices in their lifestyle – diet, exercise stress redu tion not smoking.   The CHIP program helps them understand how to take those steps, empower themselves to make those decisions."

Kostohrhz says among those who attended the meeting were 20 visitors from around the country who have come to Athens for CHIP training "on how to bring CHIP to their communities."

The Complete Health Improvement Program has had a profound effect on Dr. Dave Drozek of Athens.

Drozek had personal success with CHIP and now is a trainer, along with his wife.

"We plan to start a special version of CHIP through the churches with the idea of eventually working with the folks who are in the lower socio-economic levels who have a difficult time being involved with the standard CHIP program," he says.

Not too long ago, Live Healthy Appalachia and CHIP were just ideas.

Now the plan is actually happening.

CHIP is "one of several cornerstone programs for our Live Healthy Appalchia iniviative," says Kostohryz.  "We didn't get to our disease states quickly and now it will take time for us to change our lifestyle, modify it and maybe get out of our disease states."