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HealthWatch: Email Program Helps People Make Healthy Choices

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CBS SF Bay (con't)

Affordable Care Act Updates: CBSSanFrancisco.com/ACA

Health News & Information: CBSSanFrancisco.com/Health

BERKELEY (CBS 5) — Want to feel better, get fit, enjoy better health and even lose weight, for good? Bay Area scientists may have figured out a way.

With each and every step, Melanie Gendell of UC Berkeley feels more alive.

“I feel a lot younger, I feel like I have more energy,” said Gendell. “I don’t have any more aches and pains like I had before.”

The university employee is participating in a program that’s changed her life. Gendell has lost weight, eats better, exercises more, all on her own terms.

“It’s not a diet at all. I hate the word diet,” Gendell said.

Gendell is part of the Alive Project. It’s an email based program that helps people change their lifestyle slowly, easily, step–by-step.

“It’s personalized to the individual. It comes once a week to their email and we suggest personalized goals,” said Dr. Gladys Block.

Gladys Block and her team at NutritionQuest are behind the effort. The internationally recognized nutrition researcher said most folks can’t afford a personal trainer. Personalized emails are the next best thing.

“We can give suggestions to people that are specific to their habits and where they are now,” Block said.

Participants complete a short questionnaire online and choose weekly goals that are highly individualized. Thanks to sophisticated software, the participants get immediate feedback.

“We’re keeping track of how they’re doing and reporting back to them,” said Torin Block, chief executive officer of NutritionQuest.

These goals might seem conscious at first, explains behavioral scientist Dr. Cliff Block, but soon they “become an actual habit, become a part of your lifestyle that’s what we really want to achieve.”

The Alive Project was studied in a group of 800 Kaiser Permanente employees. The results were highly successful. Dr. Gladys Block said they hit a home run with the results.

As for Melanie Gendell, she is satisfied.

“I feel very good about myself,” Gendell remarked.

People who want to participate in the Alive project can visit www.nutritionquest.com/UCAlive. When you are asked what campus you are on, click “other.”

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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