With 2010 drawing to a close, it’s the season of the resolution, and two particular New Year’s commitments top the list for many: losing weight and quitting smoking. Two new Temple programs aim to help people most in need do both more easily, and to keep those resolutions going throughout the year.
Brad Collins, an assistant professor of public health at the College of Health Professions and Social Work, recently received a contract from the City of Philadelphia to create a smoking cessation program for people who are unemployed.
“For smokers who are in between jobs and without health insurance, quitting smoking can dramatically cut living expenses and minimize the need for medical care,” he said. “Unfortunately, dealing with the stress of unemployment makes it doubly difficult to quit smoking. We’re tailoring this program to meet this population’s unique needs for stress and mood management to facilitate the cessation outcomes these smokers are working to achieve.”
The program, based at Temple’s Health Behavior Research Clinic (HBRC), will help smokers kick the habit through counseling, help in navigating available healthcare services (such as those supported by Medicare), and free nicotine patches.
Collins was approached by the City of Philadelphia, based on some of his prior research working with low-income mothers trying to kick their habit and protect their babies from secondhand smoke exposure.
The program will begin recruiting after the holidays. For more information and to get on the waiting list, call 215-204-2360 or 215-204-6251. The HBRC also has other smoking cessation programs available; more information can be found at temple.edu/hbrc/smoking_clinic.html
With rising rates of obesity among baby boomers, seniors are likely to face a range of health issues caused by increased body weight, including declining function in the legs and feet. To combat that issue, researchers in the Gait Study Center at Temple’s School of Podiatric Medicine are studying whether weight loss can improve foot structure and the function of the lower extremities in people aged 50-75.
“Increased body weight has been suggested to be a cause for things like knee osteoarthritis and heel pain syndrome among this group, but there has yet to be a controlled scientific investigation on the improvement of foot function related to weight loss, and its effects on quality of life measures,” said center director Jinsup Song.
Song and his team at the GSC have partnered with researchers at the Center for Obesity Research and Education to design a weight loss program that will offer participants a combination of behavioral therapy and a pre-packaged meal system to control caloric intake.
Throughout a six-month period, the team will study how participants’ foot structure and gait changes, to see whether weight loss will improve movement.
“The impact of obesity on ambulation, health, and quality of life among older adults is an important area of research, as the aging population continues to grow,” said Song.
For more information, call the Gait Study Center at 215-625-5370 or visit podiatry.temple.edu/gaitlab.