Change is an inevitable process in a person’s life. An individual can adapt to various challenges presented by life through changes in behaviours. This feature is not different when influencing patients to make healthy lifestyle choices. Healthy living is a fundamental aspect of healthcare that assists in building a healthy society. People’s unhealthy life choices have caused a rise in overweight related disorders and cardiovascular diseases. The high mortality rates caused by unhealthy lifestyles have prompted healthcare providers to integrate strategies that cement change towards a healthy lifestyle for patients.
Obesity, diabetes, and heart-related problems are common chronic ailments resulting from an unhealthy lifestyle. It is estimated that more than thirty-seven per cent of adults and seventeen per cent of children are obese in the U.S. Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlights that a healthy lifestyle yields positive patient outcomes (Young, 2014). Radical decisions for patients to eat healthy and nutritious meals and accord a healthy lifestyle tend to reduce the risk for a person to develop cardiovascular disorders and obesity.
In recent years, clinicians have increased the advocacy to nutritious meals and healthy choices for patients. Physicians are vital to influencing behavioural changes in patients because they understand a patient’s needs. Creating awareness has been a focal method for nurses and doctors when adapting to healthy lifestyle choices. Young (2014) establishes that the use of educational programs by healthcare providers enables patients to understand the importance of maintaining healthy living conditions and offer strategies or methods to sustain them.
The educational programs must teach concepts about healthy habits. This feature includes providing patients with information about foods that have high calories and increase the threat of developing chronic ailments like diabetes (Brandt et al.,2018). The programs should also provide goals for patients to adapt to changes in their routines and eating habits. Brandt et al. (2018) advise healthcare providers to create plans for patients daily since it offers a short-term approach for patients to make changes.
Motivation is an essential factor that influences behavioural changes. In particular, motivational interviewing is a required method that clinicians can use to instil positive behaviours in patients regarding the food they eat and their lifestyle choices. Motivational interviewing is a counselling tool that provides rudiment principles for healthcare providers to reinforce motivational attitudes to make a patient change behaviour (Young, 2014). Young (2014) gives an example of the Northern California Motivational Interviewing Toolkit that provides physicians with insights on creating the motivation for patients to make healthy decisions.
Encouraging patients to conduct regular exercise is vital to spearhead efforts to make patients change their living conditions. It offers a practical approach for clinicians to monitor a patient’s behaviours. A healthcare provider can track a patient’s progress towards living a healthy lifestyle by examining how often the patient conducts exercise routines daily or weekly (Young, 2014). Clinicians also must make appropriate engagements when interacting with patients. It involves a physician choosing an ideal healthy programme that caters to the patient’s needs.
Young (2014) elaborates that a lack of understanding of the treatment intervention preferred by a patient fosters poor communication and impairs the connection needed to enact behavioural changes. A clinician needs to create trust with the patient. Trust is the foremost important factor that influences people to make life-changing decisions in their lives. Brandt et l. (2018) reveals that a patient is more prone to indulge in a healthy living programme with a healthcare provider who shares an honest and truthful relationship.
It is also necessary to partner with local communities. The external environment surrounding an individual defines their behaviours in society. Building a healthy neighbourhood environment is a step towards fostering a culture that upholds healthy habits. Healthcare providers must collaborate with the community to properly understand people’s social values about concepts about healthy lifestyles (Young, 2014). Communities can be at the forefront to enact behavioural changes among members by supporting healthcare initiatives that instil appropriate eating behaviours. The state and the federal government can also collaborate with public health workers and communities by investing in community projects that encourage people to exercise regularly and promote outdoor activities.
Food advertisements is also an impediment that discourages people from practising healthy lifestyles. The problem with food advertisements is that it condones and encourages people to eat foods with high calories. Television advertisements have a lot of impact on behaviours that might be hard to change. In particular, children are the most affected since most of them spend their time watching television. Food advertisements for children have increased gradually over the years. Parents must regulate how children watch television shows (Young 2014). The issue is that watching too much television makes a person docile and discourages the ability to exercise the body.
Adapting to change and a healthier lifestyle is difficult for most Americans. Making healthy lifestyle choices is a journey that encompasses a person integrating long-term strategies that help maintain the body’s healthy functioning. Exercise is an ideal step to begin a healthy lifestyle. Moreover, other measures allow clinicians to assist patients in making healthy decisions about their bodies. Collaborating with communities through educative campaigns creates awareness for community members to foster a healthy culture. Parents must also take the responsibility of taking care of their children. It is considerate for a parent to discourage a child from watching television for long periods and introduce healthy eating habits during meals or even join them when exercising.
Brandt, C. J., Clemensen, J., Nielsen, J. B., & Søndergaard, J. (2018). Drivers for successful long-term lifestyle change, the role of e-health: a qualitative interview study. BMJ open, 8(3), e017466.
Young, S. (2014). Healthy behavior change in practical settings. The Permanente Journal, 18(4), 89.