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MOVE! Weight Management Program


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Click on one of the following categories to find related questions and answers.


Physical Activity/Pedometers
Waist Circumference/Abdominal Girth/Tape Measures
Weight Loss Medication


MOVE!     Back To Top

Q. What is MOVE! ?

A. MOVE! is VA's national weight management program for veterans. MOVE! can help you lose weight, keep it off and improve your health.

Availability     Back To Top

Q. Does my VA have a MOVE! Program? What if MOVE! is not available at a nearby VA medical facility?

A. All VA facilities have been mandated to initiate MOVE! or an alternative weight management program. Contact your nearest VA facility to inquire about their program.

Participation     Back To Top

Q. I am a veteran, but I don't go to the VA for my healthcare. Can I participate in MOVE!?

A. Only veterans receiving care in the VA can enroll in the MOVE! Program. However the MOVE!11 questionnaire can be taken by anyone. It produces a 4-6 page report that is individualized and includes a list of recommended MOVE! handouts (containing nutrition, physical activity, and healthy behavior change information). The MOVE!11 questionnaire also produces a report for non-VA healthcare providers. You can take this report to your health care provider for further advice on weight management.

Q. I am not a veteran. Can I participate in MOVE!? Can my spouse/partner participate with me?

A Only veterans receiving care in the VA can enroll in the MOVE! Program. Many facilities encourage veterans to involve family members in their MOVE! Program. You are welcome to use any materials available on the MOVE! website. The MOVE!11 questionnaire produces a 4-6 page report that is individualized and includes a list of recommended MOVE! handouts (containing nutrition, physical activity, and healthy behavior change information). The MOVE!11 questionnaire also produces a report for non-VA healthcare providers. You can take this report to your health care provider for further advice on weight management.

Q. Is there a separate MOVE! Program for women?

A. The MOVE! Program has been designed for both men and women.

Cost     Back To Top

Q. Is there a charge to participate in MOVE!?

A. As of June 16, 2008 there are No more Co-payments for MOVE! Visits. When the MOVE! Weight Management Program for Veterans started, we found that patients who had to make co-payments often dropped out after receiving their first bill. This was not in the best interest of veterans or our health care system. Veterans and VA staff members called upon VA to remove this requirement. To protect Veterans health, the VA removed the co-payment from individual and group MOVE! Weight Management counseling. NCP thanks the Business and Regulations Offices for their hard work and support of this change in the Federal Regulations. This change has increased access to weight management care.

Disability     Back To Top

Q. What if I am disabled?

A. The MOVE! Program is designed for veterans of all ability levels.

MOVE!11     Back To Top

Q. What is the purpose of the MOVE!11? Why is it so long?

A. The MOVE!11 is a 11-item questionnaire that asks about your weight, health, prior attempts at weight loss, and your individual issues with losing weight and becoming more physically active. The questionnaire results in a 4-6 page report that is individualized for you. A list of recommended MOVE! handouts (containing nutrition, physical activity, healthy behavior change information) is provided with the report. The MOVE! Development Team members have heard from veterans that this information is very helpful.

Nutrition     Back To Top

Q. I am looking for a calorie counter. Can you recommend a resource?

A. On the MOVE! website, a link is provided to the USDA's MyPyramid (, which has a MyPyramid Tracker tool. The tool allows one to record food intake and calculate calories.

Physical Activity/Pedometers     Back To Top

Q. How can MOVE! participants obtain pedometers?

A. Ask your VA doctor for one, or purchase a pedometer at a local sporting goods store or the VA Canteen Store.

Q. Do I have to have my doctor's permission before I begin exercising?

A. It is always a good idea to discuss beginning a new exercise program with your health care team.

Waist Circumference/Abdominal Girth/Tape Measure     Back To Top

Q. What is waist circumference or abdominal girth, and why is it important?

A. Fat stored around the middle of the body (the waist or abdomen) can put you at risk for high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, type-2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. This risk goes up with a waist size that is greater than 35 inches (88cm) for women or greater than 40 inches (102cm) for men. Studies have shown that extra weight around the waistline is more dangerous to the heart than extra weight that is on the hips and thighs. Measuring your waist, known as taking a waist circumference or abdominal girth measurement, is a great way to keep track of weight loss. This measurement will also show if you are/are not at risk for developing health problems. If your waist circumference is approaching the cutoffs (within 3 inches or 8cm), your risk is starting to increased. It's important to do something about your risk now. Keep in mind that a modest weight reduction of as little as 5%-10% of your body weight can reduce high blood pressure and total blood cholesterol.

Q. What is an appropriate tape measure to use for measuring waist circumference/abdominal girth?

A. Tape measures can be purchased inexpensively, but the minimum requirement should be that the tape measure is a "no-stretch" tape. For example, you can get inexpensive ones that are made with paper, but they must be fiberglass-reinforced so they do not stretch.

picture 1 of no-stretch tape measure       picture 2 of no-stretch tape measure

MOVE! recommends that tapes be available in outpatient settings where vital signs are assessed. In areas where they will be routinely used, like primary care nursing stations, consideration should be given to having the version of tape that has a handle and a way to lock the tape into the handle. This then allows the nurse or other clinician to adjust the height of the tape on the belly for most accurate measurement. Here is an example:

picture of tape measures with handle

Q. How do I take a proper waist measurement?

A. Follow these simple instructions to properly check your waist measurement:
  1. Lift your abdominal area of any clothing, belts or accessories.
  2. Stand upright facing a mirror with your feet shoulder-width apart and your stomach relaxed.
  3. Use the edge of your hands and index fingers, not your finger tips, to find the top edge of your hip bones. Do this by pressing upwards and inwards along your hipbone. People often mistake an easily felt part of their hipbones located toward the front of their body. This part of the bone is not the upmost edge of the hip bones. When you are in the front of your body, follow this spot upward and back toward the sides of your body. You then should be able to locate the true top of your hipbones.
  4. Using the mirror, align the bottom edge of the measuring tape with the top of the hipbones on both sides of your body. Once you have located this part, it may be helpful to mark the top of your hipbones with a pen or felt-tip marker in order to help you correctly place the tape.
  5. Make sure the tape is parallel to the floor and is not twisted.
  6. Relax and take two normal breaths. After the second breath out, tighten the tape around your waist. The tape should fit comfortably snug around the waist without depressing the skin.
  7. Remember to keep your stomach relaxed.
  8. Continue to breathe normally, and take the reading on the tape in centimeters.
Weight Loss Medication     Back To Top

Q.Are weight loss medications used with the MOVE! Program?

A. Talk with your primary care provider to see if these medications may be right for you.

Surgery     Back To Top

Q.Is weight loss surgery available?

A. Weight loss surgery is not typically the first option for weight loss. This service is available at some VA facilities for suitable candidates. Talk with your primary care provider.