Health Education Plan

This health education plan’s creation was based on the information collected from the Windshield Survey of the Hutchinson, KS area. This plan is directed towards the whole community. I will include in this plan: a description of the educational need; establish a goal and three objectives for the community; select two appropriate educational methods; outlines the steps to implement the plan; and evaluates the educational process including educator and process evaluation.

There is a clear educational need for the prevention of obesity and the reduction of obese people within the community. As identified in my Windshield Survey, Hutchinson’s obesity rate is 28.9% for adults, and 12.0% for children. It also has a diabetes rate of 8.7% (City Data, 2011). According to Active Diner (2011) there are 49 fast food restaurants in the city with a total of 125 resteraunts with in the city. Obesity, like cancer, is not just one disease but instead many conditions with varying causes.

The terms of obesity and overweight are often used interchangeably, but they refer to different health problems. Overweight is an increase in body weight for height compared with a reference standard, or up to 10% greater than ideal body weight (IBW). However, this leads me not reflect excess body fat. It is possible for a well-developed athlete to appear overweight because of increased muscle (lean) mass, in which the proportion of muscle to fat is greater than average (Hall, 2006). Obesity refers to an excess amount of body fat when compared with lean body mass.

The normal amount of body fat in men is between 15% and 20% of body weight. For women, the normal amount is between 18% and 32%. An obese person weighs at least 20% above the upper limit of the normal range for ideal body weight. Morbidity city, also called extreme obesity, refers to a weight that has a severely negative effect on health, usually more than 100% above IBW (Hall, 2006). According to Hall (2006), more than one third of the U.S. population is obese, and another third are overweight. About 10% or more of adults are morbidly obese.

This problem is the second leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States, second only to smoking, and has become a national crisis. Obesity across the life span is considered an epidemic in the United States and Canada. Worldwide, it is recognized as a major global health problem, costing billions of dollars for health care and lost productivity.

In accordance with the Healthy People 2020 goals, the target goal is to reduce the proportion of adults and children who are obese in the community by 50% or better by the year 2020 by promoting “health and reduce chronic disease risk through the consumption of healthful diets and achievement and maintenance of healthy body weights” (Healthypeople.gov, 2011). Three objectives have been chosen to help initiate this plan.

The first objective is to teach the patient and the potential consequences and complications of obesity. The major publications of obesity affect primarily the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. However, excess weight can also cause degeneration of the musculoskeletal system, especially the joints (osteoarthritis). The obese people are often more susceptible to infections and infectious diseases then other people and tend to heal more slowly.

Common complications of obesity can include type II diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, coronary artery disease, stroke, peripheral artery disease, depression and other mental health or behavioral problems, gout, and chronic back pain. These are just a few of the potential complications obesity can cause (Hall, 2006). The second objective is to teach the patient the importance of eating a healthy diet through the use of diet programs and nutrition therapy, including eating a variety of foods, especially green products, vegetables, and fruits.

The diet should be moderate in salt and sugar and low in fat and cholesterol. Nutritionally balanced diets generally provide about 1200 calories per day with a conventional distribution of carbohydrate, protein, and fat. Vitamin and mineral supplements will most likely be necessary if intakes is below 1200 calories for women and 1800 calories for men. This diet provides conventional foods that are economical and easy to obtain.

Thus the outcome of weight loss is facilitated, and hopefully maintained. Nutritional recommendations for each person should meet the person’s needs, habits, and lifestyle and should be realistic (Hall, 2006). The third objective is to begin education regarding diet and physical activity for children and adolescents, and continue throughout adulthood. It is important to reinforce the need to engage regularly in moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes each day. A major intervention to manage obesity is to increase the type and amount of daily exercise to burn calories along with change in eating habits.

For most people, adding exercise to a nutritional intervention produces more weight loss than just dieting alone. Most of the weight lost is fat, which preserves body mass. An increase in excise can reduce the waist circumference and the waist-hip ratio. Teaching the community that increasing and maintaining physical activity levels is important in maintaining weight loss. Many obese people may be so over weight that it will take several months of conditioning before they can exercise sufficiently to lose weight. The two educational methods that have been selected are audiovisual materials and group participation (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2008).

The audiovisual materials will consist of quick guides to assist with motivation and keeping the community members on track with healthy eating and exercise programs. There will be guides available for healthy snacks that give energy, healthy foods shopping lists, eating healthy, watching weight, and simple and effective exercise programs. Group participation will consist of biweekly community obesity prevention support groups to help track community progress. Peer mentors will volunteer to provide one-on-one support as needed. These are based on examples used by Healthypeople.gov (2012).

The first step in implementing the educational plan is to create community awareness. Flyers about the community educational plan will be distributed throughout the community in various settings such as grocery stores, community colleges, day cares, and libraries. The second step involves recruitment of volunteers, as this is a critical component to this program’s success. Volunteers can come from almost anywhere within the community.

They can be health care workers, or someone who has been or is obese. A dietician would be necessary to help make diet recommendations for each category of person, and to help provide information to accurately estimate IBW’s. A personal trainer would benefit the exercise portion of the program. Donations would help to create a community website in which people can download tips on eating and exercising, thus alleviating the need for copy equipment, paper, and computers.

The third step would involve obtaining a site within the community where biweekly meetings could be held. Space within a local church or gym could be donated to keep any expenses to a minimum, and keep the plan moving without any hindrances of needing money to keep the organization on track. The meeting place could start in someone’s home until it grows enough to warrant a larger site.

The fourth step would be to keep the momentum going by continuously creating community awareness by the promotion of the website or program by word of mouth. That is the best form of advertising for any company, and it should work for health promotion. The strategies to enhance learning can be continuously evaluated by an evaluation sheet to provide feedback from the community members who utilize the services for obesity prevention.

This feedback can help the educator prepare more adequately for future presentations, or even change learning strategies to enhance learning. Audiovisual aids may not be as effective for some audience members as demonstrations or games (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2008). By evaluating the process, educators can determine if the goals and objective of the education they are providing are being met. This will be done by the monthly assessment at the group meeting when the participants perform their monthly weigh-ins.

If the majority of the participants are not losing weight, then the current structure of the education plan would need to be modified and reevaluated in another month. If the participants are losing and maintaining weight, then the goal and objectives can be considered successful (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2008). Everyone wants to live a happy, healthy life. But wanting to live healthy is one thing; doing it is quite another. Change can be a tricky process, so the more that is known about it, the better.

“People have definite advantage when they understand how interconnected everything in their body is when it comes to health and how their brain works when it comes to change” (Steiner-Adair & Sjostrom, 2006, p.12). If people want to be as healthy as they can, they need to understand how everything affects their health. It is not just about the food they eat or the exercise they do, although these two behaviors are extremely important. It is also about how they think, how they handle stress, and how they feel about the life they are living.