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Helping people make healthy choices

Helping people make healthy choices
Alumni Spotlight

Monica Joyce (BS '73) has made a career out of helping people make healthy choices. She’s the author of Too Busy to Diet, a book on eating well with a busy schedule. 

“The explosion of interest in nutrition and eating healthy is exciting and welcome," says Joyce. "There is a paradox at the same time—we have unreliable sources of info. Diets that aren’t based on science are sometimes harmful. What’s most important is that people do their homework and know the facts.”

Joyce says she felt there was a need to address the dietary concerns of busy people, which prompted her to write her book. "Planning is the most important thing," she says. "That surfaces every single day. If you haven’t planned and shopped, what are you going to eat?”

Exercise is also an important issue. One thing she learned is that people spend too much of their day sitting down. This is especially a problem with people who work long hours sitting at a computer. "They’re sitting still for much longer than I ever was as a young person," Joyce says. "How much you move, fidget, and walk around during the day is just as important as 45 minutes at the health club.”

Joyce is also the founder of a basketball camp for children with diabetes. “Diabetes is one of the biggest health challenges of the 21st century," she says. "I saw a need to educate children about it in a fun way and came up with the idea of a basketball camp. I was thinking about the children that couldn’t afford to go to expensive camps or had transit issues, and I knew we needed to set something up for them.”

Joyce discussed the idea of starting a basketball camp with a patient who had the perfect connections to make it happen: Her husband, Bob Judelson, was on the board of the Chicago Bulls, and he took it to Jerry Reinsdorf, the chairman of the board. They loved the idea.

The Bulls helped establish the Moses E. Cheeks Foundation Slam Dunk for Diabetes Basketball Camps. The camps are free, and Slam Dunk for Diabetes is a nonprofit organization designed to educate campers about the relationship between food, exercise, and insulin while teaching basketball skills. After 10 years, the camp continues to grow because of grants, donations, and fundraisers. Slam Dunk has five locations in the Midwest, and a sixth camp opened in Memphis, Tennessee. 

“We found a need, and the children love it," says Joyce. "My philosophy is that I want this to be fun, and I want them to learn while they’re doing."

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