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Bastrop Daily Enterprise - Bastrop, LA
  • KISS project coming to Sulphur

  • A local project is coming to Sulphur with an aim at getting women to lead healthier lives. The Keep It Simple Sisters (KISS) project works with overweight and obese women in the area who want to lose 20 plus pounds.
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  • A local project is coming to Sulphur with an aim at getting women to lead healthier lives. The Keep It Simple Sisters (KISS) project works with overweight and obese women in the area who want to lose 20 plus pounds. The free program is open to all women with a particular emphasis on African-American women — a group at higher risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and other weight-related problems — and those living in low-income households.
    "It is actually a free jump start to losing weight and continuing afterwards," said Sharmita Rideau, project coordinator. "And through the program, women learn that it is not just about losing weight but about having a healthier lifestyle."
    The 12 week fitness and nutrition program will kickoff in Sulphur on Monday, January 6, 6 p.m., at West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital's Dynamic Dimensions Fitness Center, 545 Cypress St. Interested participants are required to fill out an application and up to 50 women will be chosen for the program. Applications can be downloaded from lifefitfree.org under the 'What's Happening' tab.
    Ladies chosen for the program must commit to meeting with an instructor three times a week. According to Rideau, Mondays and Thursdays will be workout days with certified trainers, and on Tuesdays, a registered dietitian from LSU will show participants how to eat healthier either on their own or with their family.
    Participants will be assessed at the start of the program and then every three weeks for its duration. The ladies will be measured on strength, endurance and accomplishment of set goals. So far, according to the KISS project Facebook page, program participants have lost a combined total of 600 pounds and a few hundred inches.
    And one of the best things about the KISS project is the cost to its participants - absolutely free. The project is a part of this area's Dare to be Healthy initiative. Kicked off early last year, Dare to be Healthy's goal is to fight rocketing obesity rates in Calcasieu Parish by delivering projects which support and embrace healthy living, like KISS, to area residents. Funding for Dare to be Healthy has come from a three-year $760,000 Challenge for a Healthier Louisiana grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation and over $832,000 in matching funds from the Partnership for a Healthier Southwest Louisiana and its community partners.
    "It is fantastic that over $1 million has been invested in the well-being of the Calcasieu Parish area," said Rideau.
    Sulphur is just one of the stops that the KISS project will make as it travels throughout the parish. Its program piloted in the Westlake area in early 2013 and has already made its way through south Lake Charles and Iowa.
    "We have had a great response so far," said Rideau, "And sometime after we have completed the program in Sulphur, we will probably come back to Westlake, but nothing has been set in stone yet. We still have to reach out to north Lake Charles, and we have plans to be in Vinton by the end of 2014."
    Page 2 of 2 - She continued, saying, "We want to help as many women in the area as we can learn how to live a healthy lifestyle - mind, body and soul."
    For more information, email Rideau at lifefitfree@gmail.com
    On the web:
    lifefitfree.org
    healthierswla.com
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