Behavior Change Strategies to Improve Physical Activity and Fruit/Vegetable Intake

Tuesday, 14 July 2009: 4:25 PM

Mary A. Nies, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAAHB1
Simone Wilson-Salandy, MPH1
Kristin Vickers Douglas, PhD2
Randy Thomas, MD3
Ross Dierkhising, MS4
1College of Health and Human Services, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC
2Psychology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
3Cardiology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
4Division of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

Learning Objective 1: describe 2 strategies to change behavior.

Learning Objective 2: describe implications for nursing research and nursing practice.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship between behavior change strategies and health outcomes in persons with cardiovascular-related risk. Background: Cardiovascular risks are a global health problem. Research on specific behavior change strategies is needed to better understand cardiovascular risk reduction. Understanding behaviors that facilitate behavior change will be beneficial for evidence-based practice. Method: The study was conducted over 3 months and surveyed 336 medical patients post-hospitalization due to cardiac health event at baseline and 3 months about their behavior change strategies and their physical activity and fruit/vegetable intake. Physical activity was measured using the IPAQ-short self-report measure and fruit/vegetable intake was assessed using the short food frequency screener. Behavior change was measured using a 16 item self-report measure. Results: There were significant correlations between baseline goal setting, restructuring plans and physical activity 12 weeks later. There were also significant correlations between baseline restructuring plans and fruit/vegetable intake at 12 weeks. Discussion: The importance of specific behavior strategies for individuals to incorporate health promotion activities such as physical activity and eating fruits and vegetables is important in developing interventions and to provide a basis for evidenced based practice. This information can be helpful when giving advice to individuals needing cardiovascular risk reduction and to help individuals identify the types of lifestyle modifications that would be most beneficial. Goal setting is an effective way to focus attention on behavior change and the frequency of goal setting can indicate a commitment to diet and physical activity change. Goal Setting can be a key component of interventions in that it focuses the attention of the participant toward behavior change. These findings have implications for nursing research, practice, and education.