Since lifestyle habits have impacts on dietary health, people can exercise control over the state of their health by changing their behavior (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention n.d.). Many options are available for overweight persons. They can make changes to dietary intake and physical activity, use popular diet plan like the South Beach, join a self-help group, join a commercial weight loss program or engage in behavioral treatment. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases ( n.d.) characterizes the behavioral treatment of obesity as goal-directed and specifies very clear goals that can be easily be measured. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (n.d.) has recommended self-monitoring as the “cornerstone” in the treatment of obesity as it promotes self-awareness, self-evaluation and self-reinforcement in achieving a meaningful goal. When used in weight loss interventions, self-monitoring involves completion of a written diary documenting the quantity and consent of food eaten. Diet record as a self-evaluation process fosters an individual approach to weight loss by using the patient’s own behavioral data. The paper will examine the application of diet record in a nursing environment.
Common devices for diet record comprise of the following categories: paper and pencil; mechanical and electronic devices. Paper and pencil method includes narratives such as diaries and food records. It also has a rating scale where the client makes a mark in an appropriate box when the target behavior occurs, such as serving of fruits and vegetables eaten in one day (Eat Right n.d.). The graphic scale of the paper and pencil device places observational data on a graph, which can provide feedback as to the progression of behavior change, such as weight change over the course of an intervention. Mechanical devices are defined as any means by which a client manipulates a physical object so as to count the occurrence of a particular behavior. These devices include pedometers that count the steps taken. Pedometers are useful as they are small, lightweight, inexpensive, and easy to use. They also generate a minimal amount of disruption and provide immediate feedback. Unidimensional and tri-axial accelerometers have also been used as measures of physical activity. Unidimensional accelerometers assess vertical movement of the body characteristic of walking and running while tri-axial accelerometers detect vertical, horizontal and lateral movements. While these devices are small in size, have low cost, do not interfere in an ongoing activity, and have large memory capacity for monitoring and storage of data. The reliability of accelerometers varies with a different population. Accelerometers have been used to study the validity of self-report and diary methods of physical activity (American Diabetes Association n.d.). Electronic devices refer to audio or video recording to record behavior as it occurs. While these devices can be convenient if behavior needs to be checked for reliability, they are usually expensive to employ.
Nurses and clinical practitioners have used diet record to evaluate health behaviors (Nutrition Explorations n.d.). For instance, data from the record has been used to monitor pain level, sleep patterns, nicotine cravings and intake, food and fluid intake for hemodialysis patients, medication adherence for asthma and HIV patients and blood-glucose monitoring in diabetic patients (American Heart Association n.d.).
American Diabetes Association. (n.d.). Web.
American Heart Association. (n.d.). Web.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Strategies to prevent obesity. Web.
Eat Right. (n.d.). Web.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (n.d.). Health communication programs. Web.
Nutrition Explorations. (n.d) Dieting tips from the Dukan diet. Web.