Dr. Paul Ehrmann's mission is simple.
"I want to affect he next 125 years of your life," he says.
What's that? You don't think you'll be alive in 125 years?
"Yeah, but your kids will," Ehrmann, a D.O. and founder of Family Health Care Center in Royal Oak, says.
In other words, if Ehrmann and other physicians can get you to live a healthier life, then maybe your kids will, too. It's a lifestyle domino effect that can mean a world of health to generations of families.
Ehrmann, who has run a successful family practice for more than 25 years, attended a conference with Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson several years ago. Patterson spoke about the obesity crisis affecting the area's children and noted that today's children are on track to be less healthy than their parents.
That was enough for the Doctor. "At that point, I decided to get involved."
He began offering weight management counseling services at Family Health Care Center, including diet and exercise consultations. Ehrmann stresses the need to treat the whole family, not just the children or their parents.
"A lot of times, it's just about making suggestions," he says. "It's so varied, because you really have to understand where people are coming from."
His push toward healthy living and preventive care couldn't have come at a better time: roughly one in three American adults are obese, while six out of 10 are overweight. In addition, one in three children are either overweight or obese.
However, Ehrmann says, if a true change is going to happen, it will be about more than just weight.
"It's really about health," he says. "It's not just about weight."
In that spirit, Ehrmann is gearing up to start a pilot program he's created called the Health Education and Living (HEAL). It is a 90-day program that focuses on three components: weight management, fitness and lifestyle modification. He will begin the program with 10 patients. The program will include nine office visits, health screenings, consultations with dieticians and other health professionals to promote the healthiest life possible. Each program would be tailored to an individual patient's specific needs.
"I'm trying to do something a little proactive," Ehrmann says of the program, "and maybe try to create a blueprint for other doctors who might want to do the same."
That leads into another piece of Ehrmann's mission. He hopes to rally other family physicians to actively promote healthy lifestyles and preventive medicine. With their often long-term access to patients, family practitioners can be at the forefront of a healthier lifestyle.
"We are able to impact and sustain a message, as long as they're engaged," he says. "I think family practitioners have a tremendous opportunity to help families. I would want to engage as many physicians as possible to really keep people healthy."
Still, real change won't happen just with doctors; patients have to be engaged and motivated to live healthier lives, he says. And that starts with taking a more proactive role in your own care.
"I just want people to encourage their physicians to get involved," says Ehrmann. "Don't be afraid to talk about health and lifestyle with their doctors. Don't be afraid to ask questions."
The Family Health Care Center is located at 2033 Crooks Road in Royal Oak. The practice offers wellness services including weight management counseling, bone density screening and total body composition scanning. For more information on Dr. Paul Ehrmann and the practice, visit www.docpaul.com or call 248-543-2000.