CHIP, the Coronary Health Improvement Project, is an intensive, 30-day lifestyle modification program that teaches participants to make healthy choices that will reduce their risk of coming down with Western health problems such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
The CHIP program was developed by Dr Hans Diehl some 20 years ago. Diehl recorded 16 sessions of health instruction on DVDs and these formed the basis of the current CHIP education program. CHIP programs have been conducted successfully in more than 150 cities in North America as well as in India, Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland. Following are stories of people with serious health problems who have participated in the program.
Stewart was adamant that he’d never give up eating meat. However, in his early fifties he began experiencing crushing angina pains and was told by his doctor that he would need major surgery. He tried CHIP as a last resort before undergoing surgery and his angina disappeared completely. Now he says, “Once I’d experienced the relief from the angina pains, I decided I’d never go back to my old way of living.”
Jean, in her early seventies, couldn’t even hold a telephone conversation because she suffered from a constant lack of breath. Now, four years later, Jean can walk and talk while on the telephone.
Then there’s Gladys, who lost over 100 kilograms while on CHIP and can now walk without using a walker, giving her a better quality of life.
The CHIP program consists of 16 sessions and two workshops totalling 40 hours of education. The series includes the use of high-quality DVD lectures combined with local content. It’s typically run by volunteers and delivered over periods that vary from four to eight weeks.
The goal is to facilitate the reversal of disease by lowering blood cholesterol, triglycerides and blood-sugar levels; by reducing excess weight, lowering high blood pressure, enhancing daily exercise and eliminating smoking.
“My health dramatically improved as my cholesterol level was cut in half,” says Roz. “I lost four kilograms and had a great improvement in my blood pressure. A surprising bonus was that my sleep apnea disappeared, giving me the first full night’s sleep I have had in a decade.”
For Ngarongo Te Oti Ormsby, attending the CHIP program changed his attitude toward life. “I graduated with an increased devotion and commitment to managing my health in a new way.
“It wasn’t easy, but atherosclerosis, diabetes, hypertension, cancer and obesity are no respecters of culture, religion or creed. At CHIP I found the most caring and supportive family and I’m blessed. Thanks to CHIP, I’m not the same man. I am brighter—and much lighter.”
Frank’s doctor told him that his eyesight was deteriorating as a result of his diabetes. He drove almost 900 kilometres to attend a CHIP program in a last-ditch effort to improve his health, and within a month, his cholesterol dropped by 53 per cent and his blood-sugar levels came into normal range. He also lost 10 kilograms. “I now have a new lease on life and I’m optimistic about the future,” he says. “My doctor was so impressed that she wanted my CHIP books!”
CHIP programs will continue to be available in New Zealand in 2012, and will be more readily accessible to those in Australia and the South Pacific.
Updated resources will be used this year, featuring new research and techniques. They will replace the original materials that were produced in 1997. The resources are now audience-specific, catering to the unique needs of participants in North America, New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands.