HELP4BC (Healthy Encounters & Lifestyle Priorities for British Columbia)
Our Impact Why We Exist
HELP4BC is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lifestyle and health of British Columbians through the implementation of the Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP). In 2000 CHIP volunteers, whose lives had been affected by heart disease, diabetes & cancer, established their 1st CHIP Program to address the rising chronic disease rates in the South Okanagan. Participants with chest pains when walking to the mailbox, others on insulin to control their blood sugars as well as those who had no hope of recovering from debilitating diverticular disease, have all made significant progress. Many have been set free from life-long use of medications. CHIP has priceless benefits and proven results!
Our Story What We Do
It is not unusual for people to think of health as simply the absence of disease, but nothing could be further from the truth. True health - Optimal Health - is so much more than this, and CHIP is designed to help participants achieve the priceless benefits that come from optimal health.
CHIP was developed by Hans Diehl, DrHSC, MPH, FACN, director and founder of the Lifestyle Medicine Institute (LMI) in Loma Linda, California. At the age of 19, Dr. Diehl emigrated from Germany to Canada and within a few years completed his doctorate in Health Science and a Masters in Nutrition from Loma Linda University's School of Public Health. Later he did post-doctoral training in epidemiology at the University of California in Los Angeles.
CHIP is a five-week, community-based lifestyle health education program designed to reduce disease risk factors through the adoption of better health habits and appropriate lifestyle modifications. The goal is to lower blood cholesterol, hypertension and blood sugar levels, and reduce excess weight. This is done by improving dietary choices, enhancing daily exercise, increasing support systems and decreasing stress, thus aiding in preventing and reversing disease.
CHIP is currently conducted by community volunteers who spend in the area of 1200 community hours in facilitating and coordinating the program. Many local physicians, such as Dr. Robert McIntosh and Dr. Lloyd Westby, have seen the immense benefits of the program and are sending their patients to the CHIP program.
The areas of mind, body, heart and spirit all play vital roles in achieving optimal health, and part of the CHIP philosophy is that true health is like a jigsaw puzzle with a number of different pieces that come together to create a whole. CHIP participants are guided on how to put this puzzle together in the context of their own health, helping them to reverse or prevent chronic diseases and live a truly happy, healthy life.
Our Programs How We Do It
Before the educational program begins, a comprehensive health screen is conducted to establish risk factor levels for each participant. The participants are then encouraged to share their results and work closely with their personal physician regarding their need for medication as they modify their lifestyle. Immediately following the program, the health screen is conducted again, and a detailed report is prepared for each participant that compares their risk factor levels before and after going through the program. Reports and course completion certificates are presented at the end of the program.
The CHIP program takes participants through an intensive educational program with 18 sessions running over five weeks. Throughout the program, participants are guided through the various stages of lifestyle change, helping to show them the benefits of an optimal lifestyle and giving them the tools to maintain positive lifestyle change. The group setting provides a supportive environment.
Through the use of entertaining, educational video sessions and the supporting text Learn More, participants are given the wealth of knowledge needed. This information is greatly supported by the Live More workbook and licensed volunteer CHIP facilitators, who challenge participants to live the best life possible, while providing invaluable support and encouragement.
Throughout the CHIP program, participants can look forward to the following video presentations:
- The Rise of Chronic Disease
- Lifestyle is the Best Medicine
- The Common Denominator of Chronic Disease
- The Optimal Lifestyle
- Eat More, Weigh Less
- Fiber, Your New Best Friend
- Disarming Diabetes
- The Heart of the Matter - Heart Health
- Controlling Blood Pressure and Discovering Protein
- Bone Health Essentials
- Cancer Prevention
- Become What You Believe & Your DNA is Not Your Destiny
- Practicing Forgiveness & Reengineering Your Environment
- Stress Relieving Strategies
- Fix How You Feel & From Surviving to Thriving
The CHIP video presenters are:
- Dr. Hans Diehl, DrHSc - has a doctorate in Health Science and he presents the core science of lifestyle change with his trademark blend of humour and inspiration.
- Dr Darren Morton, PhD - is an exercise physiologist with a passion for giving people the mindset and tools to become equipped to make lasting lifestyle changes. CHIP participants enjoy Darren's sense of fun, entertaining presentation style and those moments when he shares important insights.
- Dr. Andrea Avery, MD, is an internal medicine physician with over 25 years of clinical experience. Andrea speaks with the authority of being a professor of medicine at the University of California Irvine.
Besides the CHIP Toolkit: Live More workbook, reference text, cookbook, pedometer and water bottle; the partipants are provided with food samples, cooking demonstrations, group discussions, exercise sessions and upon completion, a CHIP "Graduation" ceremony. The CHIP program continues to provide the participants with ongoing support in the way of monthly "Alumni" meetings.
CHIP participants have traveled from various places in the South Okanganan to attend the program held in Penticton. These places include Oliver, Keremeos, Summerland, Peachland, and Kelowna.
What You Can Do
Our goal for this project is to acquire critical resources for the effective delivery of this program for many years to come, at an affordable cost to the participants. We want to ensure the long-term survival of the program in the South Okanagan.
CHIP is a not-for-profit program that needs to be available to all. Financial support would help to lower the participant's fees to encourage a larger use of the program as the fee may be hindering some people on a fixed income to attend.
CHIP has been rated in the top three of 84 health programs in the U.S. It is a valuable tool in lowering health care costs and the wider its' use, the more beneficial to the health of our community.
With results published in more than 30 scientific and medical journals, CHIP is making a difference in communities. CHIP is one more step towards making our community of the South Okanagan the healthiest possible.
"In all my years of clinical practice, I have never seen such amazing results in such a short time as CHIP produces"....Dr. Lloyd Westby, Penticton Physician.