Health & Medicine - Posted by Christian Basi-Missouri on Thursday, November 29, 2012 15:40 - 1 Comment
Feedback on health may beat ‘freshman 15′
U. MISSOURI (US) — A brief intervention, sometimes as little as 30 minutes, can help college freshmen get back on track with exercise, research shows.
Researchers say it’s no surprise freshmen experience one of the largest weight gains in their lifetimes, the dreaded “freshman 15,” when they attend college.
A new study from the University of Missouri has found that a brief intervention, sometimes as little as 30 minutes, can help put students back on the right track to a healthy lifestyle—a change that can impact the rest of their lives.
Straight from the Source
“What we found in our study was that getting personalized feedback about health issues is important,” says Matt Martens, associate professor of counseling psychology in the College of Education.
“It may not matter how long or short that intervention is; what seems to be important is getting the feedback. These simple interventions can be used at a doctor’s office prior to an appointment, possibly while the individual is sitting in the waiting room. The idea behind these methods is to open the conversations, identifying the unhealthy lifestyle decisions and setting goals for the future.”
Brief interventions can be delivered in many forms. In the current study, participants were asked to complete a 10-minute questionnaire. They were then given a feedback sheet based on their responses, which they discussed with a clinician for approximately 25 to 30 minutes.
After one month, those who received the intervention reported engaging in significantly more exercise compared to those who did not receive the intervention. The findings appear in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health.
While it could be difficult to do this during every doctor visit, Martens says that health care providers could alter these suggestions to fit their patients. If providers can begin to include these intervention strategies, they could see their patients making better decisions about their lifestyles, Martens says.
Current federal activity guidelines recommend that individuals participate in 75 minutes of vigorous, physical activity per week or 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. Martens says that, prior to the intervention, the study participants fell far short of those recommendations.
Another benefit of this intervention is the low cost that is associated with this type of strategy. Potentially not much time, if any, is needed between the patient and the health care provider, but it could save a lot of money in prevention costs.
“The whole point of all these studies on exercise, interventions and lifestyle decisions is to keep people from getting sick,” Martens says.
“In the end, it comes down to individuals making good lifestyle decisions, but sometimes it’s important for healthcare providers to bring certain decisions that do not contribute to a healthy lifestyle to the attention of the patient.”
Source: University of Missouri