Online Program

Impact of a community-based wellness program for individuals with severe mental illnesses

Monday, November 4, 2013

Devin Laedtke, Colorado School of Public Health, University of Northern Colorado, Fort Collins, CO
An initial needs assessment was conducted at a local mental health facility along with a six week nutrition program. Participants were recruited from the Frontier House in Greeley, CO, which is a program focused on serving adults with severe mental illnesses (SMI). Understanding and developing programs centered on nutrition and physical activity are extremely important for individuals with SMI due to the disproportionally high rates of physical inactivity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other risk factors within the population. The objective of this research study was to gather information on nutritional and physical activity habits of individuals with SMI. Quantitative surveys were used to identify participant's social support levels, nutritional habits, current mental health status, and physical health indicators including weight, height and BMI. The impact of social support on nutrition and physical activity will be discussed, along with the relationship between nutritional habits and physical activity on mental and physical health. In addition to the comprehensive needs assessment, a six week healthy cooking class was conducted using the Cooking Matters for Adults Curriculum. The classes were taught by a nutrition educator and chef. Cooking Matters for Adults teaches low-income adults how to properly prepare healthy meals and shop on a limited budget. This comprehensive needs assessment provided data which can be used to suggest strategies to improve the physical and mental health of individuals with SMI in the local community. Strategies for developing and implementing nutrition education interventions for individuals with SMI in other communities will be discussed.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain the importance of nutrition education and physical activity for individuals with severe mental illnesses (SMI). Assess the knowledge on nutrition and physical activity within the SMI population. Evaluate the effectiveness of classes centered on nutritional education for SMI populations.

Keyword(s): Mental Health, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently a Masters of Public Health candidate at the Colorado School of Public Health. Among my specific interests are physical activity promotion within underserved populations and nutritional education for individuals with severe mental illnesses.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
University of Northern Colorado natural and health sciences Employment (includes retainer)

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.

Back to: 3310.0: Student Awards