156949 Healthy Eating for Successful Living in Older Adults-A Feasibility Study to Determine Factors for Successful Program Implementation

Wednesday, November 7, 2007: 9:05 AM

Ruth Palombo, PhD , Office of Program Planning and Management, MA Executive Office of Elder Affairs, Boston, MA
Robert Schreiber, MD , Department of Medicine, Hebrew SeniorLife, Roslindale, MA
Anne-Reet Annunziata, PhD, RD , Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Burlington, MA
Healthy Eating for Successful Living in Older Adults is a 6-week peer led program for diverse elders served by senior centers, councils on aging and senior housing who want to learn more about nutrition, chronic disease prevention and lifestyle changes for better health. It is an interdisciplinary collaboration between multiple agencies and organizations serving older adults: Hebrew SeniorLife, Lahey Clinic, National Council on Aging, the John A. Hartford Foundation, and local community agencies, health care providers, and state and local health departments providing services to older adults. The feasibility study was implemented in three community sites serving diverse populations age 60 and older. The Healthy Eating program was delivered through six consecutive weekly workshops of 2.5 hours each followed by a healthy eating luncheon. It used the Food Guide Pyramid and the Dietary Guidelines as a framework and focused on nutrition strategies for promoting heart and bone health to help maintain or improve participant' wellness and independence. The program curriculum was adapted from a Kansas State University curriculum entitled Eating for Life Program for Mature Adults (H.E.L.P.) and utilized chronic disease self-management strategies. Each session maximized group interaction, with peer leaders facilitating the process and following a scripted educational module for part of each session. Sessions were very participatory, and included self assessment, problem solving, self-monitoring, action planning based on individual goal setting, group support, education and connection to resources. The program emphasized client directed skills mastery and symptom management to maximize function. A Registered Dietitian/Licensed Nutritionist was available as needed. Findings indicated that the Healthy Eating Program could be implemented successfully in community agencies serving diverse older adults. Results from participant satisfaction surveys were very positive regarding content, format and length of program. A final survey of participants indicated that overall they had achieved personal goals and changes in eating habits, had improved nutrition knowledge, cooking and shopping behaviors, label reading and dietary intake (ate more whole grains, fiber, fruits and vegetables). Participants felt empowered and able to apply new knowledge and skills. Results from the feasibility study were used to revise the program to accommodate MyPyramid and the 2005 Dietary Guidelines as well as to disseminate the program in agencies serving older adults.

Learning Objectives:
Participants will be able to 1. Understand the components of an evidence-based nutrition program. 2. Understand the challenges of adapting and disseminating evidence-based nutrition programs for diverse communities. 3. Identify at least one-evidence-based stategy for enhancing their own nutrition program.

Keywords: Elderly, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.