Informatics in Health Promotion Programs

Table of Contents

The problem of obesity regularly arises in modern society where people do not have enough motivation to control their weight because of a large number of opportunities to spend time with comfort. The issue of childhood obesity is particularly relevant since the emergence of excess weight at an early age is fraught with serious diseases in the future. In order to help those who suffer from this ailment, it is planned to use a special digital program aimed at preventing and treating the development of obesity in people of different ages.

This method is gaming, and it motivates to reduce weight and not to feel addicted to those habits that contribute to gaining extra pounds. This technology program will be a useful and effective way to combat obesity because it helps to not only prevent obesity but also to control an already achieved result.

Gaming and Obesity Prevention

Despite the prevailing stereotype regarding harmful effects of video games, this type of activity can be useful in controlling excess weight if the right program is developed. According to Chen and Wilkosz (2014), active video gaming interventions have already been tested in practice and have shown a positive result in obesity prevention. Also, it is essential to note the interest of many people in this form of leisure.

Both adults and children often spend time playing games, and if the program is properly designed, people who need help will be able to effectively use their free time. Nursing practice, in this case, provides control over compliance with necessary conditions for the pass of the program, as well as the individual selection of such a therapeutic course. The success of the intervention will be proved if the number of patients with positive outcomes will be high. In this case, the program can become a full part of the course of treatment for obesity.

Technological Education Program

The location of the program’s use can be not only any medical clinic with necessary equipment but also ordinary home conditions. The activities of nurses will imply control over patients undergoing therapy, as well as their indicators in order to assess the effectiveness and intensity of the intervention. It is significant for adults and children to have an opportunity to participate in the program. As practice shows, “an estimated 12.5 million children between the ages of 2 and 19 are obese” (Loop, 2015, para. 1). Moreover, Chen and Wilkosz (2014) claim that “80% of obese adolescents will become obese adults, with increased susceptibility to type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease” (p. 159). These figures indicate that immediate measures should be taken with respect to this issue, and the use of a specific digital program can help in its solution.

Opportunities for Health Promotion

The implementation of the program can provide a number of opportunities for health promotion. Thus, for example, according to Turner, Spruijt-Metz, Wen, and Hingle (2015), effects can be both insignificant (self-reporting breakfast or an increase in the consumption of fruits and vegetables) and noticeable (decrease in the body mass index). When people are immersed in the game atmosphere, they, nevertheless, do not cease to rationally think, and associations with the virtual and the real world are regularly held. It may be used as a tool that can help children and adults suffering from obesity to adopt appropriate habits and follow the instructions displayed on the screen. Consequently, the simulation of behavior and the performance of various tasks can play a positive role in the process of losing weight and at the same time carry an additional entertainment function.

Target Population and Barriers

The target population that will act as the object of intervention will be children and adults suffering from excessive body weight and having concomitant health problems. Despite the seeming simplicity of this therapy, some difficulties may arise in the process of its introduction. Thus, for instance, not all adult participants are able to quickly understand the virtual space, and additional time can be spent on learning how to use the program. Also, there may be ethical contradictions when this or that person does not see the sense of using such technology and in every possible way denies its potential effectiveness in every possible way. In this case, only persuasion and an illustrative example can help.

Certain results have already been achieved. Baranowski (2015) examines twenty-eight different studies aimed at combating childhood obesity. According to the author, “forty percent of these studies influenced obesity or obesogenic behavior in the desired directions” (Baranowski, 2015, p. 331). However, there have also been some unsuccessful attempts. Thus, Thompson (2014) points out the uselessness of some digital techniques because of their weak motivation for the target audience and the lack of ability to monitor progress. Perhaps, that is why the participation of medical personnel is essential to control compliance with all the rules set by the program and monitor achieved results.

Using the Program and Engaging Stakeholders

The introduction of a game program to combat obesity can help participants in such a study to change behavioral habits and improve health indicators. Stakeholders can be engaged by nurses’ conversations with their patients and the description of the merits of a new digital program that works in a game mode. Also, those people who have successfully completed the entire course of therapy can share their experiences on the Internet and describe in detail the entire research process.

Costs are unlikely to be significant. It is necessary to purchase appropriate equipment, and a specialized place for intervention is not required since the program can be conducted in any conditions, including those at home. At the same time, the participants in the study will certainly be able to save money on expensive medications aimed at fighting obesity. The program will justify its effectiveness if the prevailing percentage of the study confirms the success of intervention.

Diffusion of Innovations Theory

As the analysis of the new program’s effectiveness, the diffusion of innovations theory can be used. McMullen, Griffiths, Leber, and Greenhalgh (2015) claim that this model is “an effective analytical tool for retrospectively explaining high and low-performing practices in a complex intervention research trial” (p. 242). The essence of this theory is that six stages in the behavior of potential research participants or owners of a new product are considered – “attention, interest, evaluation, verification, acceptance, and confirmation” (McMullen et al., 2015, p. 243). In the context of the gaming technology, this model can be used as the means of assessing participants’ interest in the new method of losing excess weight.

Evaluation of the Program’s Effectiveness

The effectiveness of the proposed program will be evaluated based on regular measurements of participants’ body mass index and well-being. In case the members of the study confirm that they start feeling better, the study will continue until the best possible result is achieved. In the process of work, it is significant to monitor the health status of the target group so that an abrupt change in the way of life does not cause any violation of the body functions. It is supposed that there will be a positive effect. As Baranowski (2015) notes, “funding to conduct the necessary research to enhance this effectiveness must become a national priority” (p. 332). Therefore, the program will certainly be useful for all the participants.

Conclusion

The technology based on a gaming program to prevent obesity can be an efficient tool for both children and adults. Despite some barriers that can arise, it can give the participants of the study an opportunity to lose excess weight and improve their health indicators. Stakeholders can be engaged by disseminating information among patients who feel the need for intervention. The effectiveness and popularity of the program can be evaluated with the help of the diffusion of innovations theory. If all the participants confirm the success of the intervention, additional funds can be spent on promoting the technology.

References

Baranowski, T. (2015). Might video games help remedy childhood obesity? Childhood Obesity, 11(4), 331-334. Web.

Chen, J. L., & Wilkosz, M. E. (2014). Efficacy of technology-based interventions for obesity prevention in adolescents: A systematic review. Adolescent Health, Medicine and Therapeutics, 5, 159-170. Web.

Loop, E. (2015). Livestrong

McMullen, H., Griffiths, C., Leber, W., & Greenhalgh, T. (2015). . Trials, 16(1), 242-257. 

Thompson, D. (2014). What serious video games can offer child obesity prevention. JMIR Serious Games, 2(2), e8. Web.

Turner, T., Spruijt-Metz, D., Wen, C. F., & Hingle, M. D. (2015). . Pediatric Obesity, 10(6), 403-409. 

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