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Loyola Nursing Student Fights Childhood Obesity

Posted Jan 04 2013 4:34pm

From Your Health Journal…..”Found a great article today on Tangilena.com about some local nursing students fighting childhood obesity in Louisiana. Through the years, I have heard so much about childhood obesity (and obesity in general) being a large issue in this state, as so many children have been suffering not only from obesity, but from heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Nursing students from Loyola University received a $4,000 grant, which will be used to educate some local high school students on healthy lifestyle. Please visit the Tangilena web site (link provided below) to read the complete article. It is a great story of children (or young adults) helping other children.”

From the article…..

One nurse is setting out to change the way health care providers in New Orleans talk to patients—inspiring instead of mandating healthier lifestyles to curb childhood obesity. Loyola University New Orleans Doctor of Nursing Practice student Monica Alleman won a $4,000 grant Jan. 1 from the American Nurse Practitioner Foundation to teach health care providers at John Ehret High School health center in Marrero, La., counseling skills to help reduce the causes and effects of childhood obesity at a local level. The idea was born from Alleman’s capstone project as a part of the Loyola DNP program.

Louisiana is the ideal testing ground for solutions to the childhood obesity epidemic, according to Alleman. Louisiana has the fourth-highest statistics for childhood obesity rates in the nation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reports.

“Monica’s passion for children and fighting obesity is contagious,” said Gwen George, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, assistant professor and DNP program coordinator.

The project focuses on the idea that when health care providers speak to patients in ways that illicit the patients’ own solutions versus commanding solutions, it results in healthier patients. The technique is called motivational interviewing skills—borrowed from counseling practices—and Alleman is teaching health care professionals at John Ehret High School how to use it.

“We can more effectively engage patients in healthy living and I believe it’s by us the providers changing how we communicate with our patients,” Alleman said. “Research shows the more patients talk about their own change, the more likely they are going to start to try to change.”

Using motivational interviewing techniques, a conversation with the nurse may include phrases like, “What kinds of things worked for you in the past?” and “How can you make that change in your life?” That kind of conversation in the clinic avoids guilt, shame and judgment surrounding what is childhood obesity, according to Alleman.

“Loyola University New Orleans DNP students are educated to embrace such research-supported interventions in behavioral health to improve the outcomes in health care delivery systems, thereby accelerating quality, reducing costs and increasing appropriate access,” said Ann H. Cary, Ph.D., MPH, RN, professor and director of the School of Nursing.

To read the full article….. Click here

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