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Behavior Change Project - Essay Example

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Behaviour Change Project Name Institution Benefits of Behavior Change One of the main benefits of implementing health behavior change arises from the direct and indirect health gains. According to Shumaker, Ockene and Riekert (2008), a number of lifestyle behaviors are identified as leading causes of morbidity and mortality…
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Behaviour Change Project Benefits of Behavior Change One of the main benefits of implementing health behavior change arises from the direct and indirect health gains. According to Shumaker, Ockene and Riekert (2008), a number of lifestyle behaviors are identified as leading causes of morbidity and mortality. Physical inactivity, unhealthy dietary/nutritional habits, substance abuse and unsafe sexual behaviors are some of the major causes of health problems around the world. Anshel (2007) concurs with this arguing that unhealthy habits among Americans have led to problems such as obesity and the diseases that accompany it. Hence, one benefit of engaging in behavior change is to avoid lifestyle diseases and habits that place one at risk of health problems. Behavior change in health habits is also accompanied by the benefits of reducing the severity of diseases besides just preventing health problems as discussed above. Sutton (2002) discusses social cognition theories, one of which is the health belief model in which the severity of a disease can lead to behavior change in a bid to manage it. An example is in the case of HIV/AIDS patients, where behavior change involving healthy nutrition and practicing safe sex are appreciated as helping to reduce the severity and outcomes of the disease. The other is in diabetics where exercise and healthy nutrition are crucial to managing blood sugar levels and thus disease outcomes. Hence, behavior change is also beneficial in regards to managing existing diseases and conditions. The other angle from which changing health behavior is beneficial is as a result of increased appreciation of the biopsychosocial model of disease and illness. Soreff (2007) describes the biopsychosocial model of disease, appreciating the biomedical contributions such as the Germ Theory of disease, the psychological factors such as personality and the social factors such as the presence of a support system in an individual’s life. Murphy (2005) discusses the theories of interpersonal health behavior including the Social Learning Theory in which people influence and are influenced by others in a dynamic and reciprocal model. Thus, implementing health behavior change would result into better social interrelationships with other people, which is an attractive benefit. Strategies for Behavior Change, Barriers and Responses Through reflection of current behavior within the first week of using the pedometer and studying, I have established a number of activities that will define my health behavior change process. I realize the need for SMART objectives in my bid to change behavior; specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-planned. Upon a self-appraisal, I first realize that I am only moderately active which is significantly below what can be considered healthy. I do not have a set/specific exercise program to follow and only exercise when I have the chance. In this regard, I have set aside time (45 minutes) for exercise every morning for one month. I will be jogging for half an hour and using the remaining time on stretching exercises. As I become stronger, I will increase the time for exercise to an hour each morning and include a variety of exercises including sit-ups and press-ups. To complement this, I will cycle or take a walk instead of traveling via a vehicle where it is possible, besides implementing stretching exercises and walk-breaks during the considerably lengthy periods I spend on my computer. Procrastination and a tight time-schedule are the two most formidable barriers to this exercise plan, but my determination to succeed and prudent time-planning, alongside continuous appraisal of progress, will ensure I succeed. Secondly, within the first week I realized that I have poor nutritional habits, never concerned about unhealthy foods, diet balanced and the source of this food. I rarely consume fruits, and I have been conditioned to dislike vegetables. Hence, behavior change here involves a number of steps first one being changing my attitude towards certain foods. I will also seek to avoid irresponsible snacking and eating of junk foods, while also actively ensuring that my meals have sufficient and right proportions of energy foods, proteins, vitamins and water to make a balanced diet. I will also practice informed consumerism, where I will seek knowledge of the content, process of manufacturing and sourcing of purchased foods to the best of my ability. The barriers to this include the family setting of nutrition, where I will have to influence the entire family to adopt similar nutritional behavior change since we share common meals. Emphasizing on the benefits and being patient when I experience resistance will effectively overcome any such barriers. Another aspect of my behavior change involves desisting from any activities and occasions that place me in situations where I am tempted to abuse alcohol and drugs. I am aware of all the negative consequences that accompany alcohol abuse and drug abuse both physical and social. One of the barriers is the subtle but arguably strong peer pressure that I would face. However, I believe that strong internal conviction and making my principles known to my peers will help in dealing with this barrier. References Anshel, M. H. (2007). Conceptualizing applied exercise psychology. The Journal of the American Board of Sport Psychology, 1(2): 1-44. Murphy, E. M. (2005). Promoting healthy behavior. Population Reference Bureau, 2: 1-29. Shumaker, S. A., Ockene, J. K., & Riekert, K. A. (2009). The handbook of health behavior change. Springer Publishing: New York. Soreff, S. (2007). The biopsychosocial information model: the new disease paradigm. Medscape General Medicine, 9(1): 37. Sutton, S. (2002). Health behavior: Psychosocial theories. UC. Retrieved 13 December 2011 from http://userpage.fu-berlin.de/~schuez/folien/Sutton.pdf Read More
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