Obesity presents a core barrier to the well-being of individuals across all age groups. For the aging population, obesity impedes the advances made in healthy aging and enhanced life expectancy, for instance, due to its high prevalence and associated comorbid illnesses (Houston, Nicklas, Claire & Zizza, 2009). Since the elderly population is estimated to increase (e.g. out of improved medical care) (Byles, 2009), increasing cases of obesity could aggravate the cost of care, to unmanageable levels. Educating the elderly on ways through which to avoid excessive weight gain conditions is therefore a critical public health intervention.
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The educational needs for elderly individuals at risk of obesity are wide ranging. For instance, overweight and obesity conditions in the elderly predict the risk for hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (Houston, Nicklas, Claire & Zizza, 2009). Despite such risk, there lacks programs to address weight loss in the elderly, partially out of adverse effects on the bone and muscle, associated with weight loss in the elderly (Houston, Nicklas, Claire & Zizza, 2009). However, intentional weight loss among the elderly has been shown to achieve beneficial effects (e.g. reducing risk of cardiovascular disease) without resulting into the adverse bone and muscle effects (Houston, Nicklas, Claire & Zizza, 2009). Thus, there is a need for programs that help the aged to embark on intentional weight-reduction.
Approaches that could better intentional weight reduction in the elderly are primarily dietary and physical activity interventions. Although pharmacotherapy also offers treatments such as Sibutramine and orlistat, such require supplementation with dietary and physical activity regimens, and may have undesirable effects. Bariatric surgery could also be used, but mainly restricted to advanced cases or where the client suffers from life-threatening comorbid conditions (Houston, Nicklas, Claire & Zizza, 2009). Accordingly, developing a weight-reduction program based on dietary and physical activity interventions, offers the opportunity to better the well-being of the elderly, but such needs to take account of associated adverse effects.
Input from Pender’s Model in my Teaching Plan
Nola Pender’s model on health promotion bears various insights into teaching plan for aged individuals with obesity. The Model defines health as not just the absence of disease, rather a concept that embodies the search for self-actualization (Rankin, Stallings & London, 2005, p. 31). Accordingly, health promotion is thus an attempt to better the well-being of the client, an aspect that is at the core of the teaching plan for elderly persons who are overweight and obese.
One of the aspects through which the model affects the teaching plan is the assessment of individual characteristics. Due to disorders and frailty that accompany aging, barriers to implementing weight-loss behaviors are augmented. Implementing a weight-loss program based on dietary and physical activity interventions thus would necessitate individualized approaches, which is challenged by high prevalence of the condition in such population. Secondly, necessitating such an individualized approach is the association of weight loss with adverse effects on the bone and muscle. Accordingly, the teaching plan would be influenced by individual characteristics that predispose clients to adverse effects following the interventions undertaken.
Secondly, Pender’s model envisages “behavior-specific cognitions and affect” to influence health promotion activities (Rankin, Stallings & London, 2005, p. 32). In the current subject, such aspects would be vital in ensuring positive behaviors are reinforced whereas undesirable ones are punished. Important to the plan, is the development of reachable targets that the elderly can begin their weight-loss programs with. For instance, such could involve routinized moderate exercise that such client’s can perform competently. By starting with such moderate targets that the clients are able to achieve, their perception of self-efficacy is likely to increase thus increasing commitment to the desired behavior and reducing barriers to performance of such behavior (Rankin, Stallings & London, 2005). Affect aspects such as family and peer-interactions would also be critical in ensuring weight-loss since such are potential sources of encouragement or discouragement to sustain desired behavior. Accordingly, such sources may be critical in modifying the behavior of the client thus impacting on the outcomes of the health promotion. Pender’s model thus provides a critical basis where instruction on weight reduction in the elderly population progresses.
Byles, J. (2009). Obesity: the new global threat to healthy ageing and longevity. Health Sociology Review 18(4), 412-422.
Houston, D. K., Nicklas, B. J., & Zizza, C. A. (2009). Weighty concerns: the growing prevalence of obesity among older adults. Journal of American Dietetic Association,109, 1886-1895.
Rankin, S. H., Stallings, K. D. & London, F. (2005). Patient education in health and disease (5th ed.). London: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.