Background Good dietary habits are important for health enhancement, while inadequate nutrition may increase susceptibility to and delay recovery from illness. To meet the needs of frail older persons and to promote functional longevity, health education on proper nutrition and exercise is important. Obesity is a relatively serious problem in Hong Kong Chinese, as elsewhere in the developed world, owing to the associated increased risks for Type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Project Aims & Preliminary Findings In this study, the prevalence of overweight and obesity among community-dwelling older persons was explored, and health-related issues regarding obesity were discussed. The study also examined the effects of a nutrition education program. A total of 61 older persons (12 males and 49 females, ages ranging from 60 to 89 years, with mean age 73 years) from two elderly community centers took part in the study. Education level, self-reported health status, body mass index, dietary habits and physical exercise pattern were recorded. Over 50% reported receiving no formal education. The majority were suffering from at least one chronic illness (hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia or osteoporosis). None knew their BMI. The prevalence of overweight and obesity were very high, with 70% (n=38) overweight or obese. Consumption of "desirable" foods (fruits, vegetables, dairy and bean curd products) was low. Participants" intake of fruits and vegetables was inadequate, with 65% of the participants consuming = 1 serving of fruit/day and 33% consuming < 3 servings of vegetables/day. The majority (80%) did not consume any dairy products. Intervention: Nutrition Education Programme A nutrition and lifestyle program (NLP) was provided to these elderly in the community centers, and a learning contract approach was used to encourage older people to adhere to the programe. The NLP lasted for 8 weeks, and covered nutritional labeling, identifying healthy and unhealthy snacks and food (e.g. those high in cholesterol, saturated fat, salt), meal planning, and encouraging physical activity. Evaluation & Conclusion Participating elderly were followed up weekly regarding their learning contract on dietary modification and physical activity. Participation in the nutrition education program was high (nearly 95%); participants demonstrated increased knowledge and awareness of their health and nutritional status and were willing to follow the advice on dietary modification and lead a more active lifestyle. Nutrition behavior is a complex process; a holistic health promotion approach seems to be essential for implementing healthy nutrition behavior.
|Title of host publication||Overweightness and Walking|
|Publisher||Nova Science Publishers, Inc.|
|Number of pages||12|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Dec 2010|
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