According to the United States Surgeon General, obesity has become one of the top health care priorities. About two-thirds of adult Americans are overweight or obese, and this number continues to increase.
Obesity affects everyone, whether your gender, age or ethnic background is different. Moreover, obesity may provoke diabetes, stroke, coronary heart disease and cancer. The emotional and psychological impacts of obesity can further add body image issues, shame, and isolation.
More than 117 billion dollars are spent per year, on obesity awareness or obesity-related injury. Although a lot of money is being used on obese awareness, the rate of obesity continues to rise. In order to create an effective weight loss plan, health care professionals need to get involved. Health care professionals have a direct influence on the community. Nurses typically spend the most time with a patients. Therefore, they will be the most effective in formulating an effective, integrated plan on reversing the trend in obesity.
Nurses, may pioneer their patient’s weight loss trend by adminstering a questionnaire. This questionnaire will provide data collection which will display socio-demographic variables, psychosocial variables and various weightloss management practices. The data gathered from the survey, will then influence the health care professionals action plan.
Socio-demographic variables have a great impact on weight loss. Some characteristics of socio-demographics are age, sex, education, background, ethnicity, religious affiliation, marital status, household, employment, and income. A perfect example of how these factors affect weight loss is a person’s income. Typically with a lower income, you are more inclined to purchase cheaper food. According to a 2010 article published in “Nutrition Today,” the higher-income families are more likely to spend money on fresh fruits, vegetables, whole, and other nutrient-dense food. Furthermore, accessibility may be another barrier among low-income people. The National Housing-Institute reports that higher-income neighborhoods may have twice as much grocery stores as low-income neighborhoods.
Age and sex may also contribute to weight-gain or weight-loss. Metabolism slows down with age, therefore making it easier to gain extra pounds and harder to lose. The Metabolic process can be described as muscle loss from being less active and the natural slow down of the metabolism. In comparison, women carry weight differently than men. Women typically gain weight in their hips and thighs, women also have a higher percentage of body fat.
,Previously listed are few examples of how socio-demographic factors enable weight-gain. This is substantial background information, nurses can use to create an effective weight loss plan. Understanding a client’s age or sex, the nurse will devise a more feasible and realistic plan. The nurse may also develop a more cost-effective diet plan for a client with a lower income.
Psychosocial variables have a great impact on our diet. Psychosocial variables such a stress, hostility, depression, hopelessness and job control are all factors that affect someone’s physical health and can lead to heart disease. Obese individuals are typically involved in a perpetual cycle with mood disturbances, overeating, and weight gain. The cycle starts with eating to cope with stress, loneliness, and frustration. The cycle then progresses when the patient notices they are gaining weight, then get even more depressed, then start to eat even more. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines this as Binge Eating Disorder (BED). The website http://www.jlgh.org/Past-Issues/Volume-4—Issue-4/Behavioral-and-Psychological-Factors-in-Obesity.aspx, further explain how weight-gain is related to psychosocial variables.
A major role as a nurse is to care and emotionally support your patient. A nurse can show their empathy by asking qualifying questions to determine if patients are stressed, depressed or feel hopeless. If the nurse believes that the patient weight gain is due to psychosocial issues they may refer the patient to a psychiatrist or psychologist who may further help the patient.
Weight-loss management is extremely important. Obesity can cause conditions such as heart problems, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and a certain type of cancer. The simplest way the nurse can help a patient is by choosing low-fat low-calorie foods, eating smaller portions, drinking water instead of sugary drinks, and being physically active.