Effectiveness of Dietary Guidelines and Physical Activity Interventions to Address Obesity in Caucasian Women over 60 in Rural Alabama

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Introduction: Obesity is a common health issue among older Caucasian females, especially those living in rural Alabama. The lack of accessible preventive health services is a crucial factor associated with obesity among these populations. Therefore, we planned to deliver an evidence-based program (EBP) to test its feasibility among older Caucasian females living in rural Alabama who have obesity with a body mass index of more than 30. Our goals were to recruit 100% of the participants (N=10) in a month and retain at least 80% ( n=8) of these participants in our study and have a data completion rate of 80% ( n=8) for all data collection time points. Methods: This study examined the of implementation of an evidence-based intervention with a pre-test and post-test design. We recruited (N=11) Caucasian females 65 and older, with a BMI more than 30 who are living in Cherokee County, Alabama. Data was collected using: i) a demographic questionnaire, ii) the Paffenbarger physical activity (PA) questionnaire to assess participants’ leisure-time PA, iii) the nutritional knowledge questionnaire to assess the knowledge related to a healthy diet, iv) the standard weighing scale and measuring tape for assessing weight and height. Intervention: A six-week evidence-based intervention with an educational component and a PA component was delivered to the participants twice a week through group sessions. A 15-minute educational session was delivered weekly with focus on heart disease risk factors including healthy diet, physical activity, stress, alcohol consumption and smoking. Participants were also involved in a 30-minute group walk twice weekly. Participants were encouraged to walk for 30 minutes independently thrice weekly at their convenience. Descriptive statistics were computedusing SPSS version 29.0. Results: Our study showed 100% recruitment rates in a month. We had a 100% retention rate and 100% data completion rates at both pre-test and post-test time points. There was a significant increase in participants’ nutritional knowledge from the pre-test (mean = 58.6, SD =14.7) to the post-test ( mean = 67, S.D. = 10.6) phase. Participants’ BMI decreased from the pre-test (mean =40.90, S.D.= 8.53) to the post-test (mean =38.53, S.D.= 6.66) phase, and their weekly walking time increased from a mean of 8.1 minutes (SD = 11.3) to a mean of 14.2 minutes (SD = 14).Discussion: Our feasibility study showed success in recruitment rate, retention rate, and data completion rates. Our evidence-based intervention showed improvements in participants’ nutritional knowledge, BMI, and walk duration. Although the improvements in these outcomeswere clinically significant, however, a pilot study with a control group design is needed to see the statistical significance of the effectiveness of the intervention on these outcomes.

DNP Project
Rural, Obesity, Women, Nutrition, Physical activity