Is It Time To Get To A Healthy Weight?

A group of people enjoy a healthy lunch at an IU Health cafeteria. Photo provided by IU Health.A group of people enjoy a healthy lunch at an IU Health cafeteria. Photo provided by IU Health.

By: Dawn Brand Fluhler for IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital—

Muncie, IN—Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in America; in fact, obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States, surpassed only by cigarette smoking. These statistics are alarming and are part of the reason a growing number of people are reaching out for help with weight loss.

Mandy Puckett, RD

Mandy Puckett, RD

In fact, According to the Indiana Healthy Weight Initiative, approximately two thirds or 65 percent of Indiana’s adults are overweight or obese, which is similar to the national rate of 63 percent.

Manager of Clinical Nutrition & Weight Management Systems at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital Bariatric & Medical Weight Loss Center, Mandy L. Puckett, MA, RD, CD, CSOWM, works with people daily who are in search of a way to achieve better nutrition and weight loss in a safe and healthy manner.

“We strongly believe that creating a lifelong relationship with our patients empowers them to lose weight and commit to healthier lifestyles,” Puckett said. “Our team of physicians, nurses and registered dietitians, along with a behavioral health specialist and exercise specialist are deeply committed to caring for our patients along their nutrition and weight loss journey.”

The IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital Bariatric Center is located at 2901 W Jackson St, Muncie, IN 47304

The IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital Bariatric & Medical Weight Loss Center is located at 2901 West Jackson St, Muncie, IN 

Start with eating right

Nutritional counseling at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital Bariatric and Medical Weight Loss Center is provided by a Registered Dietitian (R.D). A Registered Dietitian individualizes meal plans and helps clients make unique, positive lifestyle changes. Specialized diet instruction for individuals with diabetes, over/underweight concerns, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, gastrointestinal disorders, food allergies, eating disorders, and all other diagnoses requiring nutritional intervention can be provided.

Nutrition counseling is a free service that requires a written physician order appointment. Appointments can be arranged through Patient Financial Navigation by faxing an order to 765.741.2903.

Medical Weight Loss Program

The IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital Medical Weight Loss program is a non-surgical option suited for anyone with a BMI > 27 with comorbidities or a BMI > 30 who wants to improve health and lose weight. The program offers comprehensive and personalized plan utilizing, a very low calorie, ketogenic approach to weight loss. Patients work with a multidisciplinary team of health professionals to create an individualized plan based on health, lifestyle and goals.

The Medical Weight Loss program includes:

  • Physician supervision
  • New Direction® meal replacements
  • Regular medical monitoring (weekly or biweekly visits)
  • Registered dietician support
  • Behavioral strategies for sustainable lifestyle changes
  • Exercise recommendations
  • Support to maintain health goals long term

Participants in this program also enjoy other benefits offered by IU Health Medical Weight Loss including support groups, social media connection and community events.

Surgical Weight Loss Program

Each surgical weight loss candidate has an individualized journey based on health history, insurance criteria and our program requirements.

IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital Surgical Weight Loss program offers two options, sleeve gastrectomy and adjustable gastric band.

During sleeve gastrectomy, the doctor removes about 80 percent of the stomach, leaving a small vertical pouch in the shape of a banana. This results in eating less due to feeling full after eating small amounts of food.

During gastric band surgery, a surgeon places a band filled with saline solution around the upper part of the stomach. This creates a small pouch with a narrow opening into the lower part of the stomach, also creating a feeling of fullness sooner after eating just a small amount of food.

Each individual insurance company sets the medical criteria needed for approval for bariatric surgery. Insurance companies also follow the National Institutes of Health guidelines, which include:

  •  BMI >40
  •  BMI 35 to 39, with co-morbid conditions

Additionally, the IU Health Bariatric Surgery program has requirements for approval that conform to national standards that include:

  • Educational seminar
  • Verification of bariatric insurance benefits and criteria
  • Initial consult with Surgeon & Registered Dietitian
  • Monthly supervised weight loss visits
  • Psychological evaluation
  • Completion of additional program/insurance requirements
  • Insurance approval
  • Surgical evaluation with surgeon
  • Pre-op testing (blood work, EKG, nicotine test, chest X-ray)
  • Pre-op education
  • Post-op follow up and lifelong support

Long-term support

Support is an essential component throughout the weight loss journey. It is important to be surrounded with a good support system and positive environment. This includes family, friends, the bariatric team of professionals and other weight loss patients. Support groups at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital Bariatric Surgery & Medical Weight Loss offer a variety of support group topics and events guided by the interdisciplinary team. Support groups are open to the community and meet the first Monday of the month at 6 pm and the third Thursday of the month at 9 am.

For more information, view the seminarschedule, or call 765.747.4410. Register for a seminar at