VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System
The goal of the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP) Program is to encourage a healthy lifestyle through healthy eating, regular exercise, and preventive care. Making better life style choices will help you to achieve a healthier life and prevent illness. We want to help you, the Veteran, make healthy choices as an active member of your health care team.
Below are some of the Healthy Living Choices that play a major role as you manage your healthcare:
- Get Involved in Your Health Care — Be involved in your health care. There are many ways to take an active role. Work with your health care team to improve your health.
- Be Tobacco Free — Don't use tobacco in any form. If you are using tobacco, the VA can help you quit. Avoid second hand smoke. If you are pregnant, both you and your baby will benefit when you quit using tobacco. Want to learn more? Ask your Provider about our Tobacco cessation programs and support groups.
- Be Physically Active — Learn what it means to be Physically Active! Read about the benefits of strength training, the different types of physical activity, and the four elements of fitness. Get started and/or increase your physical activity with some basic activities and tips to keep you physically active. Want to learn more? Ask your provider for approval to begin an exercise program. You may also ask for a clearance to use the Fitness Center on the VA Central Western Massachusetts main campus in Leeds (Northampton).
- Eat Wisely — Eat a variety of foods including vegetables, fruits and whole grains. It is important to include fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products in your diet, and limit total salt, fat, sugar, and alcohol. For further information, ask your provider for a referral to a Registered Dietitian.
- Strive for a Healthy Weight — If you need to lose weight, losing even a little will help. If you are of normal weight, maintain it. Staying in control of your weight helps you be healthy now and in the future. If you would like to attend one of the MOVE! programs offered at our main campus or any of our clinics, contact your provider, or Seth Maas, RD, at (413) 584-4040, Ext. 2711. You can also learn about our MOVE! program.
- Be Safe — There are actions you can take to protect yourself and those you love from harm. Common safety issues are sexually transmitted infections, falls, and motor vehicle crashes.
- Manage Stress — Pay attention to stress. Tools are available to help you manage and reduce your stress. If you have feelings of hopelessness and lack interest in things that used to make your life interesting, you may be experiencing depression. Discuss this with your provider. There are ways to deal with depression through counseling or mediation or both. If you have had a traumatic life event that is affecting your life, discuss the possibility of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) with your provider.
- Limit Alcohol — If you choose to drink alcohol, drink in moderation (women no more than 1 drink a day; men no more than 2 drinks a day). Avoid "binge drinking." If you are concerned about your drinking, talk to your VA health care team about getting help. Substance abuse (alcohol and drugs) contributes to physical and mental illness, crime, violence, and many other social problems. We have substance abuse programs to help you manage these health problems.
- Get Recommended Screening and Immunizations — Get recommended preventive services including screening tests and immunizations. Recommendations for preventive services depend on your age, gender, health status, and family history. Find out which screening tests and immunizations are recommended for you by discussing the following with a member of your team:
- Blood Pressure
- Cholesterol and High Density Lipoproteins (HDL)
- Breast Cancer
- Cervical Cancer
- Colorectal Cancer
- Skin Cancer
- Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
- Prostate Cancer
- Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
MyHealtheVet is a free, online personal health record. It is available 24/7, where ever there is internet access. For more information, contact Anne Sheerman at (413) 584-4040, Ext. 2808, or log onto www.myhealth.va.gov.
For more information on the VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System's HPDP Program, contact Mary Rodowicz, HPDP Program Manager, at (413) 582-3180, or Mark Schneider, Health Behavior Coordinator, at (413) 584-4040, Ext. 2813.
To learn more about VA’s Prevention program, log on to www.prevention.va.gov.
Have you thought about getting your flu shot? We are encouraging all Veterans who are enrolled in VA healthcare to get their flu vaccine at one of our VA medical facilities in Northampton (Leeds), Fitchburg, Greenfield, Pittsfield, Springfield and Worcester. You can make an appointment to receive the flu vaccine by calling (413) 584-4040, Ext. 6363. You may also receive the vaccine at your regularly scheduled Primary Care appointment.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months of age or older as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Vaccination of high risk persons, including young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease, and people 65 years and older, is especially important. Vaccination is important for health care workers and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading flu.
Want to Become Tobacco Free?
Could this be the first day of your life without tobacco? Quitting can improve your health in many ways, helping you to live longer and feel better. It is better for your friends and family who won’t be exposed to second-hand smoke. It can also help you to save money.
VA Central Western Massachusetts has many resources at our medical center campus in Northampton and at our five community-based outpatient clinics to help you to quit, including individual counseling and medications. Contact your Primary Care Team for further information. Group Smoking / Tobacco Cessation classes are also offered at some locations.
Other VA resources for quitting tobacco can be found at http://www.publichealth.va.gov/smoking/quit_smoking.asp.
This site also includes information about SmokefreeVET, a new mobile text messaging service designed to provide 24/7 support, tips, and encouragement to Veterans interested in quitting smoking.
Not enrolled in VA healthcare but interested in taking advantage of our many excellent programs? Call our Eligibility Office at (413) 582-3091.
- VA Central Western Massachusetts Healthcare System
- 413-584-4040 Ext. 2813
Hours of Operation
- Mon-Fri 8:00am-4:30pm