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GPFit! Health & Wellness Initiative

Your health is our mission. At Great Plains Health, our goal is to lead the way to a healthier community. We do this in many ways, but specifically through an initiative that began in 2012 called GPFit!

The programs, screenings, education and events are all designed to inspire long-term solutions for improving health.

The GPFit! initiative offers many low-cost or no-cost options for people of all ages to engage in healthier lifestyles, create awareness and action around disease prevention and accidents, and better manage chronic illness. The programs, screenings, education and events through GPFit! are all designed to inspire long-term solutions for improving health.

GPFit! programs

Couch to 5K run/walk series

The GPFit! Couch to 5K program represents a partnership between Great Plains Health and the Platte River Fitness Series. Offered each year in the spring, the purpose of the program is to guide participants toward the goal of finishing a 5K (3.1 miles), either by walking or running, and motivating lifelong fitness through regular exercise. The program is offered free of charge to Great Plains Health employees and community members of all ages who are at any fitness level, from couch potato to marathon runner. Sessions are led by North Platte Recreation Center certified fitness instructor Trudy Merritt and a host of volunteers who help encourage and motivate our participants. To date, we have inspired more than 800 walkers and runners, who have either completed the series or are currently enrolled.

For more information, please contact Pam Garrick, Great Plains Health special events coordinator, at 308.568.7530.

Training sessions begin July 13!

Register here for the 2021 GPFit! Couch to 5K goal

Autumn River Run on October 3, 2021

Healthy Heart check

At the Healthy Heart screening:

  • Learn the risk factors of heart disease and how to reduce your chances of getting heart disease.
  • Receive an EKG to determine your heart rhythm pattern (available on a first-come, first-served basis to the first 100 people; participants must be 18 years or older; offered only to those who have not already been diagnosed with heart disease).
  • Complete an assessment to determine your risk factors.
  • Get a cholesterol profile and blood sugar check. Please fast for eight hours prior, other than water and take morning medications.
  • Receive information on smoking cessation classes.
  • Receive a free blood pressure check.
  • Learn tips for healthy legs. Medical professional will be checking for varicose veins.
  • Learn effective CPR methods and how CPR saves lives.
  • Enjoy giveaways, food, valuable education and fun.

For more information, call Pam Garrick, Great Plains Health special events coordinator, at 308.568.7530.

Heart and stroke screenings

Trust your heart to Great Plains Health

Heart disease is the single leading cause of death in America, affecting both men and women of all ages. Great Plains Health Heart Institute is committed to the early detection of heart disease and ongoing prevention and risk factor education.

Preventive screenings are offered to our community at a very low cost and include the following:

  • Calcium score (CT scan of your heart that detects the presence of plaque found in the lining of coronary arteries).
  • Blood glucose level.
  • Cholesterol level.
  • Body mass index.
  • Blood pressure.

Normally this series of tests would cost around $750. Because we make early detection our mission, Great Plains Heart Institute offers the screening for just $50.

To schedule a screening appointment, call 308.568.7455. Appointments are available every Friday.

Lung screenings

At Great Plains Health, we're committed to the health and wellness of the communities we serve. Through an emphasis on preventive care and early detection, we strive to make an impact on reducing the incidence of lung disease in our region. Lung cancer screenings are offered at the Great Plains Health Imaging Center every Friday afternoon with an out-of-pocket cost to patients of just $300. Early detection saves lives. To be eligible for a screening, you must be:

  • 55 to 74 years of age.
  • A smoker or an individual who quit smoking less than 15 years ago.
  • A person with a 30-pack-year smoking history. One pack year is equal to smoking 20 cigarettes, or one pack, every day for one year.

If you're interested in a lung cancer screening, please discuss the topic with your primary care provider. If you meet the criteria, he or she can schedule the screening right away.

The doctor who orders your lung cancer screening chest CT will get a report on the test within one week. He or she will share the findings of the screening with you and discuss any other tests that you might need. Additional tests could be covered by insurance.

Screening benefits

  • You can be screened for lung cancer using a low-dose computed tomography (CT) scan. CT scans combine x-ray views from multiple angles, creating a two-dimensional, cross-sectional image of your lungs.
  • Early detection saves lives. Getting a lung cancer screening chest CT reduces the chance of dying from lung cancer by 20 percent for individuals at very high risk of developing lung cancer.

For more information, please contact Great Plains Pulmonology at 308.568.8530.

March Madness men's health event

Catch wellness information relevant to men!

Stay tuned for more information on our 2018 event.

Mindful eating program

Good health is something that most people want but struggle to make a natural part of their day. In 2014, Great Plains Health began an initiative to make Great Plains Health Café 75 percent healthy in the foods we serve by the end of the year. Through the mindful eating program, launched in partnership with Sodexo, one of the nation's largest food service companies, Great Plains Health exceeded our goal and transformed the meals served in our cafeteria.

Today, just over 90 percent of our food offerings are classified as nutritionally healthy. These foods balance nutrition with enticing flavors to create an indulgent way to enjoy health. Our hope is that making mindful choices will become second nature for our employees, patients, hospital visitors and our community.

The Great Plains Health Café posts nutritional information and education throughout our café so that meal time becomes as much about learning to make healthy choices as it does about eating tasty, healthy food.

Mindful cooking tips

  • Try substituting vanilla for sugar. Cut sugar in a recipe in half and add a teaspoon of vanilla—more flavor, fewer calories.
  • Prepared seasonings can have high salt content and increase your risk for high blood pressure. Replace salt with herbs and spices or some of the salt-free seasoning mixes. Use lemon juice, citrus zest or hot chilies to add flavor.
  • Canned, processed and preserved vegetables often have very high sodium content. Look for "low-sodium" veggies or try the frozen varieties. Compare the sodium content on the nutrition facts label of similar products (for example, different brands of tomato sauce) and choose the products with less sodium. If you buy canned, rinse veggies under cold water to reduce the level of sodium.
  • Prepare muffins and quick breads with less saturated fat and fewer calories. Use three ripe, very well-mashed bananas, instead of 1/2 cup butter, lard, shortening or oil, or substitute one cup of applesauce per one cup of these fats.
  • Choose whole grain for part of your ingredients instead of highly refined products. Use whole-wheat flour, oatmeal and whole cornmeal. Whole-wheat flour can be substituted for up to half of all-purpose flour. For example, if a recipe calls for two cups of flour, try one cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour.
  • When baking, use plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt or fat-free or low-fat sour cream.
  • Decrease the amount of fat and calories in your recipes by using fat-free milk or 1 percent milk instead of whole or reduced-fat (2 percent) milk. For extra richness, try fat-free half-and-half or evaporated skim milk.

These helpful cooking tips are brought to you by the American Heart Association.

Mindful recipes

Skin cancer screenings

Check back soon for information about these screenings!

Smoking cessation classes

Commit to quit!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States, affecting every organ in the body and contributing to a number of medical conditions, including:

  • Lung cancer. Approximately 80 percent of lung cancer deaths are attributed to smoking.
  • Coronary heart disease. Smokers are two times more likely to have coronary heart disease than nonsmokers.
  • Stroke. Smokers are two times more likely to have a stroke than nonsmokers.
  • Cardiovascular disease. Smoking causes peripheral vascular disease, a narrowing of the blood vessels that carry blood to the leg and arm muscles.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Smoking greatly increases your risk of getting long-term lung diseases like emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
  • Other cancers, including lung cancer and at least 12 others.
  • Macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is the most common cause of blindness in older people.
  • Infertility.

The CDC reports that nearly half of all smokers who keep smoking will end up dying from a smoking-related illness.

The good news is that people who stop smoking before the age of 50 reduce their risk of dying in the next 15 years by half, compared with those who continue to smoke. Quitting at any age helps increase your chances for longer life and better health.

Tobacco addictions are difficult to overcome but can be conquered with a high level of commitment and determination. It's not easy, but it can be done, and Great Plains Health wants to help. Through our GPFit! Health & Wellness Initiative, Great Plains Health offers five-week smoking cessation sessions led by trained tobacco treatment specialists at no cost to the public.

For more information and the next available session, please contact Pam Garrick, Great Plains Health special events coordinator, at 308.568.7530.

2017 schedule

  • July 11 to Aug. 8, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
  • Nov. 7 to Dec. 5, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Classes are located at the Great Plains Health Dakota Room, 601 W. Leota St., North Platte. The sessions are open to Great Plains Health employees and members of the community and are for all tobacco products, not just cigarettes.

To register for the next GPFit! smoking cessation class, call 308.568.7530.

Our GPFit! community partners

Creating a healthier community takes the efforts of many local organizations with a shared passion for inspiring health and improving lives.

Great Plains Health works closely with the North Platte Recreation Center and the Platte River Fitness Series to provide classes, meeting space and instruction for many of our GPFit! programs. Our partnerships have led to the biannual community health series, a youth running division in the Platte River Fitness Series and personal training from Instructor Trudy Merritt for the Couch to 5K series.

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