Coronary artery disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart burn and depression are among the issues that will be addressed through the Coronary Health Improvement Project (CHIP) being offered at Memorial Hospital of Union County during an eight-week period from May to July.

Coronary artery disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart burn and depression are among the issues that will be addressed through the Coronary Health Improvement Project (CHIP) being offered at Memorial Hospital of Union County during an eight-week period from May to July.

Deb Stubbs, director of the Health Center at the hospital, told the hospital's board of trustees during an April 23 meeting that the research-based program got its start 11 years ago and is based in Rockford, Ill.

About 50,000 people, she said, have participated in the program.

Dr. Matthew Everett, a physician in the Occupational Health Center at Memorial Hospital, learned about the intense educational lifestyle program last year when he attended a conference where the founder, Dr. Hans Diehl, was speaking, according to Stubbs.

"(Everett) came home from the conference and made some lifestyle changes in his own personal diet and was able to change his cholesterol levels and blood pressure and things," she said.

Once he saw the difference it was making in his life, he went to Olas "Chip" Hubbs III, president and CEO of Memorial Hospital, and Laurie Whittington, chief operating officer, and asked them to bring the program to Union County.

Free informational sessions will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. April 27-28 and from 4:30 to 6 p.m. April 30, followed by an eight-week program beginning May 5 and ending July 2, with a graduation ceremony being held July 7.

The registration investment is $600 for a single person and $950 for a couple.

"It runs twice a week for about five hours per week," said Stubbs. "You have to be able to do the time commitment in order to get the results."

Stubbs said the idea behind the program is that 75 percent of all diseases are caused from lifestyle.

"Our lifestyle diseases are killing us," she said.

Diabetes, Stubbs said, is a prime example.

"Diabetes has gone up 700 percent since World War II," she said. "One of three children will have diabetes."

Stubbs has found truth in the adage that, "You are what you eat."

She joined some of the other hospital staff in immersing themselves in a three-day program to learn about CHIP.

"We got CHIPnotized as I say," said Stubbs. "There is nothing to buy, there is nothing magical, it is really shopping in the produce department. It is really looking at eating a lot less processed foods and a lot more whole grain, fresh fruits and vegetables. They do encourage you to eat less meat."

Stubbs said she had her lipids checked to see if eating the nuts and berries had made a difference in her results.

"I am happy to report my total cholesterol is down 16 percent or 36 points, my LDL is down 26 percent or 38 points, it has never been lower," she said.

The idea is to reverse coronary disease by lifestyle, according to Stubbs.

"It means more nuts and berries for me," she said.