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Cape Wellness Center Team to Present at 2017 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo

Beebe Medical Group team members working at the Cape Henlopen High School Wellness Center will be presenting their peer-reviewed published abstract at the 2017 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo™ (FNCE®) of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on Tuesday, October 24.

Registered Dietitian, Irene Soucy, and Nurse Practitioner, Joann Economos, are lead authors on this poster presentation, which is published in the September 2017 Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The abstract, entitled, “Food, Fun and Fit: A Health and Wellness Collaboration between School, Hospital, and Community,” discusses ways to merge the classroom and the community in an effort to educate, motivate, and facilitate a safe place for students to learn, live and enjoy life through health and wellness.

As the rate of teen obesity continues to rise, it is important for schools and communities to work together to educate families on the health risks associated with excess weight. People carrying excess weight are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, fatty liver disease, bone and joint issues. For teens especially, excess weight can also adversely affect emotions, self-esteem and overall quality of life.

In Sussex County, Beebe Medical Group partners with Cape Henlopen High School, Indian River High School, and Sussex Central High School to provide school-based health centers for students. These centers support students’ physical and emotional wellbeing and offer the services of a registered dietitian, providing nutrition counseling and education.

At Cape Henlopen High School in Lewes, the Wellness Center team, faculty members and school administrators worked together to create a nutrition curriculum to meet the students’ request for increased physical activity and further nutrition education. The curriculum is peer-supported and student-directed. It is a ‘judgment-free zone’ and has been offered after school hours.

Community partners have provided services, either fully or partially discounted, to include Zumba, yoga, boot camp, and martial arts. By incorporating nutrition education, physical activity, support and fun into a relaxed, welcoming environment, students can feel comfortable trying different activities and learning about new foods or nutrition facts while learning lifelong strategies to improve health and well-being.

“We have continued to see success with the program,” Soucy said. “There has been an increase in participation and sustained lifestyle changes among our student participants.” In addition, the Wellness Center has found that many students are interested in improving not only their own health, but sharing what they have learned to improve the health of their families.

“It may be hard to talk about our weight and how it affects our health, but this student-directed program really allows students to talk to each other about weight issues and ways they can make changes to support weight loss”, said Economos. “It has been very fulfilling to help bring this program to Lewes and we are proud to be able to share its success with the community and with other schools through the Poster Presentation and the Abstract’s publication.”

The creation of the nutrition curriculum, program activities and support was made possible through a Cape Henlopen School District Wellness Committee Grant.

Beebe Medical Group, the employed physician medical group under Beebe Healthcare, continues its expansion, and is currently comprised of 19 medical specialties in 28 locations throughout southern Delaware, with more than 110 medical providers and more than 175 support staff.

Beebe Medical Group providers comprise the specialties of cardiac surgery, dermatology, endocrinology, family practice, gastroenterology, internal medicine, otolaryngology, pediatric neurology, surgical oncology, and vascular services. Hospital-based providers include: the Hospitalist division and its nurse practitioners; the Observation Unit nurse practitioners; and Dr. Abraham Scheer, the Board-Certified neurologist who oversees Beebe’s accredited Stroke Center. Beebe Medical Group also staffs Beebe Walk-In Care locations in Rehoboth Beach, Millville, Millsboro and Georgetown. For more information, go to

Beebe Healthcare is a not-for-profit community healthcare system with a charitable mission to encourage healthy living, prevent illness, and restore optimal health for the people residing, working, or visiting in the communities we serve. It offers services throughout Southern Delaware for residents and visitors, including a 210-licensed-bed hospital, a cancer treatment center, home care services, and outpatient facilities providing walk-in care, lab, imaging, and physical rehabilitation services. For more information, please visit us online at