Nurses key to patient obesity management and CVD prevention

ORLANDO, Fla. - Obesity is, by far, one of the most widespread public health problems, and a key risk factor for cardiovascular disease. It is also often a struggle for health care professionals to treat patients with obesity through a successful weight loss program.

A recent Practice-Based Opportunities for Weight Reduction (POWER) trial revealed today at the American Heart Association 2011 Scientific Sessions finds that weight-loss programs conducted via telephone and the internet are just as effective as a program attended in person.

In the randomized trial, about half of the patients participating in either phone or in-person weight loss intervention lost at least 5% of their initial body weight within six months. The lost weight stayed off after two years in about 40% of both groups. In summary, the study shows that a structured weight loss program, either online or in person, will impact positive weight loss.
 
“The use of technology to empower individuals of all ages to eat healthy and be physically active has incredible potential to impact the obesity epidemic in this county,” states Jerilyn Allen, RN, ScD, FAAN, Associate Dean for Research and M. Adelaide Nutting Professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and a Immediate Past President of the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association. “All health care professionals, especially nurses, need to become more aware of opportunities to use social media and technology to promote healthy behaviors and the prevention of cardiovascular disease.”

According to a recent membership survey from the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association, nurses typically spend 45 minutes on initial patient visits and 20 minutes on follow-up visits, making them a critical health care resource for influencing patients' behavior and addressing weight loss regimens. However, based on this study, it is also important to reach out and engage patients at risk of cardiovascular disease due to obesity in between visits, through telephone or online programs.

For more about the POWER study visit powertrials.org.

For more about weight loss management techniques and teaching tools, visit pcna.net.

###