At the Oklahoma City VA, the MOVE! program recently distributed Fitbit Versa 2 devices to program participants in a pilot program to increase access and use of technology for health purposes.

The pilot assisted with launching the SyncMyHealth data app that allows Veterans to share their health stats through their Fitbit with their health care providers.

“The Fitbit was a great asset to the MOVE! program,” said coordinator Cynthia Thorsen. “Veterans were able to document their weight, water intake and food. It also calculated their steps and even the amount of sleep they got.”

Photo of Veteran in healthy lifestyle program

Army Veteran Greg Fumbanks

MOVE! is a weight management health program designed to improve the lives of Veterans through healthy eating behavior and increased physical activity. With the help of VA dietitians and the Fitbit, Veterans in the program can track their health and see where they are doing well and where improvements need to be made.

A great tool for motivation

“We have seen great success with MOVE! through nutrition education, goal setting, encouragement, and accountability,” said dietitian Misty Loafman. “The Fitbit is designed to encourage our Veterans to set weekly goals and learn from their patterns. Also, since Fitbit has the capacity to challenge others, this is a great tool for motivation and accountability.”

With the addition of Fitbits through this pilot program, the successes are shown in real time for health care providers and Veterans.

“I’m able to track everything throughout the day,” said Army Veteran Greg Fumbanks. “I can always pull up my phone and get an idea of where I am right now as far as calories and my step count.”

Fumbanks has lost 45 pounds through MOVE! He joined the MOVE! program after being diagnosed with high blood pressure. After consultations with his primary care provider and nurse, he met with Loafman at the Lawton Clinic.

“I started at a 42 waist and now I can probably wear a 38,” Fumbanks said. “The weirdest thing about losing weight during the pandemic is buying pants online. Not being able to try them on and trying to find the right size.”

Veterans were very competitive

“Some of the Veterans would become very competitive with themselves and others,” said Thorsen. “They would see their previous daily or weekly data and say, ‘I can beat that.’”

While some Veterans were reluctant to use the Fitbits because it was new technology, once they figured out how to use it, they became more comfortable.

“It was fun to watch each Veteran get more and more involved with the Fitbit each follow up,” said Loafman. “They liked that it offered more than just steps. They loved that it made them more aware of their calorie intake verses calories burned, and quality of sleep.”

The ability to measure oxygen levels and sleep patterns helped Veterans in a way they didn’t expect.

Two more Veterans with great results

“I kind of figured that I was probably sleeping restlessly,” Navy Veteran David Bailey said. “But to see the real raw data of just how badly I was sleeping was a real eye-opener.”

Bailey has lost 55 pounds and was able to take the sleep data to his primary care provider who scheduled Bailey for a sleep study.

“I thought it was just for counting steps,” Army Veteran Rebecca Bone said. “But I discovered after wearing it I had stopped breathing 37 times in one night.”

Bone has lost 30 pounds since participating in the MOVE! Program.

Veterans needing assistance to lose weight and get healthy again can ask their primary care physician to set up a consultation with the MOVE! coordinators.

For more information about the MOVE! Program, visit www.move.va.gov or ask your VA primary care provider.

By Phillip Ybarra

Public affairs specialist, Oklahoma City VA

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Published on Aug. 3, 2022

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50 Comments

  1. Leroy Joseph Jr August 13, 2022 at 3:58 pm

    For all of Those that want to join the MOVE! Program to lose weight and be healthier:

    Here’s the URL/Link

    https://www.move.va.gov/

    Please note that the VA is NOT offering Fitbits anymore – but you can still join and get a Dietitian to monitor you progress through the 16 module program.

    If you have not created a “MyHealtheVet” account I encourage you to do so –
    https://www.myhealth.va.gov/mhv-portal-web/user-registration

    (and NO, I’m not a VA employee, just a NOW very happy slim and off many medications Cold War Vet!)

    Good Luck, Brothers and Sisters in arms!

    Cheers,
    Leroy

  2. Michael August 11, 2022 at 2:38 pm

    would like/need to lose 25 pounds and would love to enroll in the MOVE program and use a FitBit. How do we get started?

    • Leroy Joseph Jr August 13, 2022 at 3:45 pm

      Michael,
      Please speak with your Primary doctor at the VA about the program the next time you see them.

      You can also send a secure message to the VA MOVE! via “MyHealtheVet” – https://www.myhealth.va.gov/mhv-portal-web/home
      (the “To” is the “Move Team – (What your VA location is)

      hope this helps to get you into the program –
      I also read somewhere that the VA will help you if you need it to get a Fitbit for the Fitness Tracking also – – (I can’t verify this)

      Cheers,
      Leroy

  3. Michael August 11, 2022 at 2:35 pm

    How do we get this at our VA? I live in St Marys GA. Thanks for the information

  4. Leroy Joseph Jr August 11, 2022 at 11:33 am

    I have lost 45.8 pounds (210.6 to 164.6) an 6.5″ inches (40″ to a 33.5″ waist) participating in the VA MOVE! Program (April 16, 2022 to August 11, 2022) , but did not get a Fitbit from the VA.
    I purchased my own Fitbit Sense, since the pilot program had reached it allotment of Trial Fitbit’s.
    I did the TeleMOVE!, where I was sent a Scale that connects to a Medtronic device (that interacts with you at a prescribed time)

    For the Veterans who want to join – Please contact your Primary Care at your VA – – it’s easy and free!

    I’m now off 9 different medications (including for High Blood Pressure, Pain, Cholesterol and Allergies)
    My daily Chronic pain have been reduced to just having Steroids injections for my lower back (from 5 back surgeries)

    Good Luck to everyone who have joined and please consider for those who have doubts that it will work for you.
    (My Dietitian Amber Everett have recommend my weight loss to be written up in the MOVE! Success stories)

  5. RUBEN FIGUEROA August 10, 2022 at 11:44 am

    I pray and hope all VA’s get the fibit for the Move program and I believe if all VA providers would assign a fitbit on those individual who are interested in losing weight it would would improve most veterans health.
    Thank you for the article and maybe I can get a Fitbit out in the private sector for my health which I am working in trying to improve, thanks again for the information you have provided, God Bless.

  6. Richard Brouse August 9, 2022 at 10:43 pm

    I would like / need to loose 25 pounds and would love to enroll in the MOVE program and use a FitBit. How do we get started?

  7. Christopher Hauck August 9, 2022 at 8:57 pm

    Good evening – Is the FitBit being considered for expansion? I’m in Fort Collins, Co.

  8. Lyn August 9, 2022 at 2:26 pm

    Would love to get my husband a fit bit and fo the move programvua Tele health he goes Toca in Johnson city Tennessee and mountain city Tennessee!

  9. Dan Rosenbaum August 8, 2022 at 10:53 pm

    I am from the Appleton,Wi. VA. I would like to get one of those Fitbits.I had one,quit working.Thanks Dan

  10. Michael Lapointe August 8, 2022 at 9:49 pm

    How do we get this at our VA Prescott, AZ? Or have we just not heard about it yet. Do they even have a Move Program?

  11. Sabrina Williams August 8, 2022 at 8:43 pm

    How do you join

  12. Joanne cherry August 8, 2022 at 6:30 pm

    Arizona did this almost a year ago. I got one in our pilot program. Love it

  13. Paula Lilleheil August 8, 2022 at 5:58 pm

    How can I get enrolled? I’m a 20yr veteran?

  14. KR August 8, 2022 at 2:54 pm

    This was a pilot program so only a few Veterans from a few VAs were offered this option to test out whether it would help Veterans improve their health. If this investment proved to be beneficial to improved care of Veterans it may become part of various programs in the future.

  15. Julie A Dupree August 7, 2022 at 7:46 pm

    Why can’t I receive one of the Fitbit Versa 2 for the Move program I’m in? I was issued a step counter from the SC Move program and it’s not very helpful. It doesn’t have any cool features like what is listed. I would probably lose weight with one of those.
    Keep keeping on with the progress. ??

    • E J August 8, 2022 at 11:27 am

      How did you get the step counter? I’m in SC they haven’t given me anything but a lot of scheduled classes.

  16. Joe August 7, 2022 at 7:31 pm

    I am overweight I weighed 247 pounds I have had a quadruple bypass having a lot of issues with my knees I would like to lose some pounds if I can My my Cardiologist put me in the program in Lawton Oklahoma but I got sick again and couldn’t go in so I’d like to get back in the program if I could .I am a veteran

  17. Joe August 7, 2022 at 7:30 pm

    I am overweight I weighed 247 pounds I have had a quadruple bypass having a lot of issues with my knees I would like to lose some pounds if I can My my Cardiologist put me in the program in Lawton Oklahoma but I got sick again and couldn’t go in so I’d like to get back in the program if I could

  18. Phil Longo August 5, 2022 at 5:59 pm

    Hi,
    My name is Phil Longo, and a Vietnam Vet. A while back I was at the Tampa VA for a hernia surgery! While on the gurney, I was approached by Dr. Reddy! We talked and he had me cancel my surgery. Keep in mind I was 245 lb. So….he put me on a WHOLE FOODS PLANT BASED DIET! Keep in mind I was a product of the meat Industry! I was a plant superintendent for a major meat processor at the time. So the was a big change for me to eliminate meat from my diet! However, I did! I now have a weight that runs from 165 to 170! I do not know if there is a formal focus on DIET. I truly feel the VA should develop a formal program to propose Vegan diets for all Veterans that are over weight. It will help their health and may, just may help remove the burden o the VA. By-The-Way…..I LOVE THE VA!

    • Ruben Figueroa August 10, 2022 at 11:38 am

      Hi, Phil Longo I would like a copy of Dr Reddy diet call WHOLE FOODS PLANT BASED DIET. I believe it would help me with my high blood pressure, knee pain for being over weight, Diabetes and overall health issues. thanks.

  19. kary Taylor August 5, 2022 at 5:10 pm

    when will the Temple TX VA get them??

  20. Liddell Smith August 5, 2022 at 3:19 pm

    Sounds pretty good. Regret we didn’t have those resources when I was a move participant. Keep up the good time.

  21. Robert Brown August 5, 2022 at 1:24 pm

    When will this program come to Arkansas VA?

  22. Myrna Meshew August 5, 2022 at 12:52 pm

    I want one of those watches!! What do w have to do to get one? I am 100% disabled veteran living in LaPlata, MD.

  23. Kenzie Sailors August 5, 2022 at 10:15 am

    I would suggest the VA pay for fitbits for all the VA move members. That would definitely get my attention as to joining the program.

  24. Ronnie Cooley August 5, 2022 at 9:04 am

    Is Louisville Kentucky going to follow suit?

    • Veterans Health Administration August 5, 2022 at 3:45 pm

      This was a pilot program for a few locations and with the promising results from the program we hope it will eventually become a program available to all Veterans enrolled in the MOVE! program.

  25. Jack Schuffenhauer August 5, 2022 at 8:41 am

    Are Fitbits going to be available in other areas for veterans?

    • Veterans Health Administration August 5, 2022 at 3:46 pm

      This was a pilot program for a few locations and with the promising results from the program we hope it will eventually become a program available to all Veterans enrolled in the MOVE! program.

  26. Michael J Contos August 5, 2022 at 7:13 am

    I got my Fitbit free through Medicare and have been walking 10,000 steps daily.
    I highly recommend this for other veterans to keep track of the steps. You can even go swimming with it! Water won’t hurt it . . .

    Michael J Contos,
    Philadelphia VA Hospital “customer”

    • J.Birch August 5, 2022 at 9:04 pm

      How did you manage that? Is “Fitbit Versa 2” specified previously a ‘preferred standard’ or would an evaluation & prescription for a specific model be appropriate?

  27. Patrick D Burke August 5, 2022 at 4:30 am

    can a veteran from louisiana sign up for the MOVE program

  28. James R. Whedbee Jr. August 4, 2022 at 8:51 pm

    Wow, what a great program. I hope they spread it around

  29. Robert Kirk August 4, 2022 at 8:40 pm

    I been wanting to buy one, but didn’t want to buy something that was a fad. Reading this has resulted in my interest to purchase one. I think be much improvement for my wife who suffers anxiety.

  30. JP August 4, 2022 at 7:54 pm

    I wish the VA Would add Google Fit or Fitbit to the Move Program App to track steps & calories burned. Sync Google Fit into The Move Coach like you can sync Google Fit into the Lose It App

  31. Richard Gaspa August 4, 2022 at 7:48 pm

    I am in the move program here in Las Vegas. Is there a way to get myself one of those Fitbits?

    • Veterans Health Administration August 5, 2022 at 4:06 pm

      This was a pilot program for a few locations and with the promising results from the program we hope it will eventually become a program available to all Veterans enrolled in the MOVE! program. https://www.move.va.gov/

  32. Tom Carlson August 4, 2022 at 7:44 pm

    send me a fitbit, I’ll do it!

  33. Sandy August 4, 2022 at 6:53 pm

    Now, the VA needs to provide Continuous Glucose Monitors (CGMs) to all veterans. So many people are insulin resistant and/or in a pre-diabetic or full blown diabetic health status and don’t even know it. A CGM would provide real-time glucose data that is so much better than having to prick one’s fingers constantly. I know they are expensive, but even if the VA would provide veterans with a CGM at a greatly reduced cost, maybe requiring a reasonable co-pay, it would be hugely beneficial to the veteran and to the health care system in the long run.

  34. Deirdre Moss August 4, 2022 at 6:14 pm

    Can disabled Vets get a discount on Fitbit? What is the cost for a Fitbit? Reading the Fitbit info has me very interested in the Move and Fitbit+ program.

    • Veterans Health Administration August 5, 2022 at 4:07 pm

      Please check with local retailers and online for business that may provide Veteran discounts. https://www.move.va.gov/

  35. JOHN RUSSELL WOOD August 4, 2022 at 6:03 pm

    Take this fitbit program nation wide!!!!!!!
    No brainer for health.

  36. Paul Marshall August 4, 2022 at 5:54 pm

    Rather than using a fitbit would I be able to use my Samsung watch instead?

    • Veterans Health Administration August 5, 2022 at 3:35 pm

      At this time the SyncMyHealth app is only able to sync with approved devices in the pilot program. The developer is working to allow all devices to sync to include smartwatch devices.

  37. Don Harris August 4, 2022 at 5:43 pm

    will other va’s implement this program ? I live in riverside county california. this would be a great program for me and probably many other veterans. i have coronary artery disease and high blood pressure

    • Veterans Health Administration August 5, 2022 at 4:10 pm

      This was a pilot program for a few locations and with the promising results from the program we hope it will eventually become a program available to all Veterans enrolled in the MOVE! program. https://www.move.va.gov/

  38. AL Ursich August 4, 2022 at 5:36 pm

    The VA should look at the Noom weight loss program and come up with a VA Version.

    • KR August 8, 2022 at 2:58 pm

      We already do. It’s called MOVE!.

  39. John F O’Brien August 4, 2022 at 5:23 pm

    I completed the fit bit program at the Philadelphia VA and they stiffed me on the bonus money. Sad.

Comments are closed.

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