The Orchard Revolution: Addressing obesity’s impact on our community

Miranda Leavitt Diabetes Fund, CHOP to present film and panel discussion on Nov. 6

Matt Byron’s documentary film, “Orchard Revolution,” poses some tough questions for chopcommunities about the relationship between obesity and chronic illnesses like diabetes. Produced in Portland, Maine and released to the public earlier this year, the movie includes interviews with doctors, authors, attorneys, personal trainers and environmental experts on how to improve the health of the American people as well as the environment.

On Thursday, Nov. 6, from 6-8pm at the Theatre in the Wood, Intervale, the Community Health & Obesity Prevention (CHOP) group will host an evening of education and discussion on the health challenges of obesity and how it can be addressed as a community. The film’s director, Matt Byron, will join a panel of several local people actively involved in improving awareness of the individual and societal impact of chronic disease. Byron’s film challenges communities to plant fruit trees as an expression of support for local foods and improved nutrition.

Sponsored by the Miranda Fund and the Memorial Hospital Foundation, the free public event will include a showing of the first segment of the “Orchard Revolution.” This will be followed by a panel discussion with Brenda McKay, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator of the Miranda Center for Diabetes & Endocrinology at Memorial Hospital; Trish Murray, DO, physician from T. Murray Wellness Center; and Brenda Leavitt, mother of Miranda Leavitt after whom the hospital’s diabetes center is named.

“This event is a great opportunity for CHOP and the Miranda Fund to work hand-in-hand,” Brenda Leavitt said. “Miranda so wanted to help educate people in our community about diabetes, and to help people understand the differences between Types 1 and 2. Most importantly, through education, we want to make people aware that Type 2 diabetes can largely be controlled through a healthy diet and exercise.”

Dr. Murray has been working with Leavitt and Memorial Hospital through CHOP, which is a subcommittee of the White Mountain Valley Community Health Council. CHOP is organized around the idea of collective impact where various community members and organizations work toward common goals that address a mutual concern.

“Many different community organizations have come together in a collaborative way through CHOP, and that’s how this event came to be,” Murray explained. “Our common goal is to foster a sense of community that promotes education and communication toward optimal health and wellness.”

There is no cost to attend the event, and free babysitting will be available for children ages 2 and up. Doors open at 6:00 pm and those attending are asked to bring a donation of non-perishable food items for the local End 68 Hours of Hunger chapter. Information will be available on diabetes, nutrition and the CHOP program.

Murray said it’s important for everyone to work together to address issues that affect us all. The White Mountain Community Health Council participated in Memorial Hospital’s 2013 Community Health Needs Assessment that compared local health indicators to state and national averages.

“The needs assessment report identified several local key health problems that really warrant our attention including the overweight and obese population in both children and adults,” she said. “We all have different talents, knowledge and strengths, but I believe that together we can foster more community awareness and interaction. We can educate and communicate with each other about ways to be healthier — for ourselves and for our environment.”

More information on the Nov. 6 Orchard Revolution program is available online at http://tinyurl.com/orchardrevolution. Or call (603) 447-3112.

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