Live Healthy Appalachia has a bold footprint in Southeast Ohio because of its ardent supporters and donors. Some of these supporters are practicing physicians who believe in the work that we do and inform their patients of how they can be on the road to a healthier lifestyle. Dr. Katy Kropf is one of our passionate advocates championing our mission to spread healthy eating and active living. As Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. Kropf has been practicing medicine for 14 years.
Dr. Kropf first became involved with LHA by attending its talks which highlight current and relevant topics in medicine and health. She eventually participated in the Complete Health Improvement Program or CHIP. Since she had been recommending it to her patients, she decided to try it herself.
“The biggest thing it did for me is that I knew how powerful lifestyle change can be,” she recalled in a phone interview. “[It was] very powerful to see with my own eyes.” Dr. Kropf witnessed these dramatic changes her CHIP cohort was experiencing.
From both perspectives as a physician and as a participant, Dr. Kropf noted that this program is long term. “At any given time, it goes up and down, but the dietary change is for the long term. It’s not a quick fix,” she explained. “It’s about a consistent effort in your life.”
With CHIP or with any commitment to better and healthier lifestyles, there has to be at least one goal. For Dr. Kropf, it was to cut back on salt intake and to exercise more. “Making these kinds of changes are so difficult to do on your own,” she remarked. In essence, she emphasized that to make these changes, people need a community or support network. “I try to enforce and encourage this to my patients,” she continued.
Dr. Kropf recognizes the deep issues our region faces with food insecurity and problems accessing healthy foods. “There are ways to eat healthier that don’t cost a lot,” she added. In fact, LHA’s adult education program guides people in how to shop for and prepare home-made meals on a budget.
She admits it’s a challenge to encourage people to “eat better, move more”. But she continues to do so, both as a doctor and as an individual who cares about others’ well being. “It’s about living a full, fun, rich life.”