Development of Community-Based Intervention Programs to Reduce the Metabolic Syndrome Risk Factors
Approximately two thirds of U.S. adults and one fifth of U.S. children are obese or overweight. Obesity prevalence among U.S. adults doubled, during 1980-2005 and recent data indicate an estimated 67 percent of U.S. adults are overweight or obese (Odgen et al., 2006). This project involves the design of nutrition education community interventions to address obesity and ultimately prevent metabolic syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome (MS)is a set of risk factors (elevated waist circumference, elevated triglycerides, low HDL, high blood pressure and elevated blood glucose levels) that are precursors to diabetes and heart disease (CDC, 2007). MS has a significant burden on patients and healthcare systems. Diabetes was identified as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States after heart diseases, cancer, lower respiratory diseases and accidents.
When diabetes occurs in conjunction with other health problems, such as cholesterol and hypertension, the risks of suffering from complications and death increase significantly. With the alarming increase in the prevalence of diabetes and its burden on patients and healthcare systems, it becomes necessary to identify effective community based approaches that would ensure appropriate prevention and reduction of risk factors (CDC 2005). The University of Idaho (UI) Coordinated Program in Dietetics (CPD) students will deliver several community based programs. Designing and carrying out these interventions will help students meet core competencies and supervised practice hours required by the Commission on Accreditation for Dietetic Education (CADE) which is part of the American Dietetic Association. Several educational modules, targeting metabolic syndrome prevention, that can be used in
the classroom, worksite and community will be developed and integrated into the CPD curriculum. Students will design, pilot test and evaluate these modules for future use with their clients. Students' successful experiences boost self-efficacy. This experience will increase student confidence in their ability to provide food and nutrition information to the public (Zimmerman et al., 2008). As students serve their community, they reflect on the connections between explicit course content and their experience in the field. College students often manifest long-lasting, modest, academic benefits from participating in hands-on learning experiences (Stage, 2004). Glasgow's (1999) study showed how well lifestyle changes could prevent metabolic syndrome Researchers looked at more than 3,200 people who already had impaired glucose tolerance, a pre-diabetic state. One group was instructed to make
lifestyle changes. After three years, people in the lifestyle group were 41% less likely to have metabolic syndrome than those who got no treatment. The lifestyle changes were also about twice as effective as using a diabetes medicine. Graduating dietitians might be more effective working with parents to help serve as healthy role models for their children and create healthy environments (Zimmerman, 2008). Student involvement in these research areas not only will benefit the community, but the student skill levels as well.