FOR RELEASE: 12/23/2010Contact: John Cappiello, (203) 384-3637

Celebrity chef Michel Nischan, Bridgeport Hospital experts prescribe recipe for good health in Fairfield

Celebrity chef, cookbook author and Westport restaurant owner Michel Nischan recently joined a panel of Bridgeport Hospital experts for “Recipe for Good Health: Preventing Diabetes,” a free talk at the Fairfield Public Library.

The other speakers included Bridgeport Hospital diabetes educators Mary Jo Farrelly and Donna Hansen and Ahlbin Rehabilitation Centers exercise physiologist Peter Ronai. The presentation was followed by refreshments and a book signing by Nischan.

“Chef Nischan’s passion for preparing and consuming healthy foods, especially high-quality whole grains, was very motivating,” notes Farrelly, who is also a registered dietitian. “The use of farmers’ markets and buying fresh food products were two of his important take-home messages.”

During her remarks to the more than 70 people on hand for the event, Farrelly said that diabetes can be prevented or postponed by maintaining a healthy weight.

“Selecting healthy carbohydrate and higher-fiber fat sources and eating more frequent but smaller meals and snacks are two strategies that can help prevent diabetes,” Farrelly said.

Ronai underscored the importance of exercise as a diabetes deterrent.

“For physical activity to be effective, it should be done daily with moderate intensity,” Ronai said. “’Moderate means that you should still be able to speak while doing it. Exercise can be accumulated throughout the day and should not produce pain.”

Hansen, a nurse, who staffs Bridgeport Hospital’s Diabetes Education Center with Farrelly, heaped praise on many of her hospital colleagues who helped plan and stage the Nov. 8 educational event.

“Poor eating and exercise habits and a rise in childhood obesity threaten to increase the incidence of diabetes the in years ahead, but we can turn the tide by encouraging healthier behaviors,” Hansen said.

Bridgeport Hospital's Diabetes Education Program is nationally recognized by the American Diabetes Association. The Diabetes Education Center provides diabetes self-management training and medical nutrition therapy sessions. Bridgeport Hospital also offers a program for the management of gestational diabetes (diabetes of pregnancy).

According to the Diabetes Association, more than 23 million Americans have diabetes, although 5.7 million of them are unaware of it. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, and is a major contributor to heart disease, stroke, blindness and amputation.

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Part of Yale New Haven Health System, Bridgeport Hospital is a 383-bed acute care hospital (plus 42 beds licensed to Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital) serving parts of Fairfield and New Haven counties. The hospital admits more than 18,000 patients and receives more than 240,000 outpatient visits annually.