Shyanne Krugh, CMA; Dr. Mahtab Ahmed, MD; and Ashley Crowle, CMA are part of the Activate team in Van Wert. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)
Shyanne Krugh, CMA; Dr. Mahtab Ahmed, MD; and Ashley Crowle, CMA are part of the Activate team in Van Wert. (DHI Media/Kirsten Barnhart)

VAN WERT – For employers, having a healthy employee can mean less absences and lower costs for the company. One local company, Cooper Farms in Van Wert, has recognized the importance of having healthy employees and has partnered with Activate Heath Care Clinic to provide care for employees.

“Our goal is to get them healthier,” said Dr. Mahtab Ahmed who is a physician at the Van Wert Activate Clinic located in Towne Center. “Our goal is to become a driver for their health issues. We want to help them get better. Our clinic does most of the stuff internal medicine does plus we can do blood tests and we can also provide some medication from here.”

One of Ahmed’s focuses is on fighting obesity and diabetes through an Intensive Weight Loss Program (IWLP).

“If we have excess fat it can lead to metabolic complications like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, and it can also have psychological effects like depression, change in hormones and lots of other issues,” said Ahmed. “We think that a lot of other issues for each individual contribute to obesity.”

Ahmed said that many factors can contribute to obesity depending on the person and noted that unlike many family physicians, the Activate clinic focuses on more than just diet and exercise. Instead, they prescribe medications that aid in weight loss like phentermine and metformin and require participants in the IWLP to eat three regular meals a day and increase water intake.

“Our goal is to bring people change,” said Ahmed who noted that Activate focuses on treatment that people can afford.

Participants are asked to check their body weight regularly and are recommended either a low calorie diet or a low carb diet.

“We give them simple paperwork and see what they can do,” said Ahmed. “They are checking their body weight, and they are also trying to check carb or calorie intake, and they are coming back.”

The program also suggests that participants increase their physical activity. Ahmed said a person should set a goal of 10,000 steps a day and 30 minutes of exercise a day for five days a week.

“If someone has diabetes or prediabetes, metformin really helps, and we have it here,” said Ahmed. “It gives you 5 percent weight loss.”

Other supplements like fish oil and vitamin D also help play a part in weight loss, said Ahmed.

The goal of the program is to have a person lose 10 percent of their body weight in three months.

“After that, if they made their 10 percent goal, then we make another goal for weight loss,” said Ahmed. “We take it step by step. This way of doing it is actually the Medicare guideline.”

From Jan. 1, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2017, Ahmed monitored the weight loss of 78 participants who ranged in age from 23 to 63 years old. The average max weight loss was 30.3 pounds, and each person had healthier cholesterol levels and a lower BMI. When compared to the Center For Disease Control’s Diabetes Prevention Program, the IWLP had greater results across the board.

“Weight loss helps in [people’s] well being, and you see the metabolic benefits; it can prevent diabetes,” said Ahmed. “They may also need less medicine.”

Ahmed said he has seen people who have diabetes and are on insulin reverse their diabetes and stop taking insulin from changing their lifestyle to be healthier.

Through the results of the Intensive Weight Loss Program, Ahmed hopes that The Activate Clinic in Van Wert gains new employers looking to create healthier employees. Currently, any employee of Cooper Farms or family member of an employee can use Activate Health Clinic.