This Time Losers Are Winners

Jade Moon
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Wednesday - January 10, 2007
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Anne Chipchase is 62 years old and she is on a diet. In fact, she says, “I’ve been on a diet since I’ve been about 18 months old.”

She’s joking, of course. It only feels that way to her. But the reason she’s dieting is no joke; Chipchase has chronic kidney disease, or CKD, a condition that affects thousands of families in Hawaii.

So this week, Chipchase and a lot of other people are stepping on scales and vowing to shed a little - or a lot - of weight.

What they’re doing has nothing to do with the annual ritual of resolutions we make and break every year. Instead, it’s part of a challenge called “Lose to Win,” and it leads up to the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii’s Gift of Life Festival in March.


Chipchase, who is director of advancement and communications with the foundation, says the premise of Lose to Win is simple: Being overweight is bad for you. And picking up even a few extra pounds is much, much more serious than people think.

“There’s a lot of evidence that even a little bit of extra weight can put you at risk of chronic kidney disease, diabetes and hyper-tension.”

It’s an insidious threat. You may not even know you have a problem until it’s too late. Chipchase says hypertension doesn’t have overt symptoms, and people may not realize they have diabetes. But those two diseases account for two-thirds of the people who have chronic kidney disease.

CKD itself is a silent ailment. “CKD has no symptoms in people until they’re pretty well along. Without testing you could be a stage 3 or 4 and wouldn’t know it.”

That’s important. CKD has five stages. If it’s diagnosed at stages 1, 2 and 3 you can still stop it, or at least seriously delay its progression. But once a person reaches stage 5 there are only two courses of action -dialysis or transplant. How scary is that?

Chipchase says in the days before testing was available it was common for people to be blithely unaware of their disease until - suddenly and shockingly - they needed dialysis.


So her message to you?

“Be aware of this now - before it gets to that stage. It’s all about prevention and early intervention.”

Chipchase was one of those unknowing victims of CKD. She says she only found out before she got to stage 5 because she started working with the Kidney Foundation. Since her diagnosis 16 months ago she has lost 15 pounds, and she intends to shed 20 more. Even then, she won’t be done.

“The whole trick is keeping it off,” she says.

Chipchase says many of today’s popular crash diets are not kidney friendly, so be careful how - and how fast - you lose the weight. Slow and steady is best.

“Slowly lower your intake,” she advises, “up your exercise, and make it for a lifetime.”

The Kidney Foundation figures it’s easier to do if it’s fun and for a good cause. In this case you can do it for your health and to raise money for the foundation. This week a bunch of folks who took the pledge hopped on a huge truck scale at Tamarind Park to make the point - diet together, succeed together.

The final weigh-OUT will be March 10. There will be prizes for the greatest percentage lost and the most money raised, and all the “losers” will be able to celebrate during the Gift of Life festivities that follow.

It’s not too late to weigh in. You can find out more about the festival and the contest by logging on to www.kidneyhi.org, or call 589-5915.

Chipchase says you don’t have to raise funds if you prefer not to, the important thing is to participate and lose the weight. It’s both a challenge and a lifestyle choice. Lose, and Win.

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