Improving Current & Future Health
The significance of proper diet and physical activities are crucial in decreasing the prevalence of disease and deaths from various diseases (McGinnis & Foege 1993 Hahn et al, 1990). Unbalanced diet and physical inactivity can cause about half a million deaths annually and are a major cause of various deadly diseases. Studies suggest that about 15% of all American deaths in 1990 could be as a result of poor diet intake and activities (McGinnis & Foege 1993), and are linked to inactive lifestyles of chronic disease-related mortalities. The present research paper aims to explain the leading health psychology models that help in improving current and future health of people…. . Moreover, it explains the effectiveness of various models in providing a base for efficient behavior change strategies….. Identifies the psychological methods for successful behavior change programs to help people engage and maintain healthy eating a regular exercise regime…. These models can be applied to modify risk behaviors and to check ailments and promote health of the people. The analysts should apply the existing models from health psychology and incorporate them with the more highly developed evidence-based theories and practices of cognitive-behavioral with the aim of identifying the underlying factors of change instead of the predictors of the present behavior only.
In accordance with Healthy People 2010 (DHHS, 2000), nearly three-fourths of Americans do not intake enough fruits, and enough vegetables, and consume too much saturated fat. This has caused much heart-related disease, cancers, as well diabetes (Ness & Powles, 1997 Ness & Powles, 1999). It must be noted that regular physical activity is critical for a healthy lifestyle. Physically sedentary people are almost twice as probable to acquire coronary heart disease as against people who are involved in regular physical activities. Consequently physical inactivity causes much risk for coronary diseases similar to cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, and is more extensive than any of these other risk factors in the USA.
People with various risk factors for heart-related disease, like obesity and hypertension, may especially derive benefit from physical activities. Such activities also help older people remain independent and improve the lifestyle for people of all ages.
Moreover, from 1991-2000, the occurrence of obesity amongst American youths rose nationwide, in every state, and in all sectors of the population (Mokdad et al, 1999 Mokdad et al, 2000 Mokdad et al, 2001 Flegal et al, 2002). The occurrence of obesity is rising at a sharper rate amongst children than the youths. In view of the fact a rising body of research studies suggests that breastfeeding suggests safeguards against excessive weight gain in childhood and youth stage (Dietz, 2001), CDC supports breastfeeding as a realistic method to reduce obesity amongst the children.
The troubles linked with low-calorie diet, physical inactivity, and obesity impact most population sections nevertheless, there are distinct disparities in the effects that these troubles have on different segments of people, especially by ethnic group and by education position. The data from Healthy People 2010 point out that physical immobility, vegetable intake, breastfeeding, and weight status differ by ethnic group, sexual category, educational position, and age.
The presently recognized models of health behavior continue to change regarding some of the crucial aspects, yet there are also major disparities regarding the fundamental philosophy. This paper presents a brief overview of models and discusses about their advantages and disadvantages. Especially, it studies the usefulness of applying one such model, the Health Action Process Approach (HAPA) that is believed to prevail over some of the deficiencies intrinsic in other models.
Various Models of health behavior change suggest a pattern of characteristics that may enhance motivation and would finally cause continued behavior changes in people. A disparity result in between the stage models and continuum models. As regards continuum models, users are put along a series that shows the chances of activities. Many Influential predictor variables are determined and combined together in one prediction equation. The objective of the program is to help the individuals along the route towards the activities. Such models presume that the individual behavior is the consequence of a conscious objective. Intention forming is considered as being rooted in values and behaviors (Armitage & Conner, 2001 Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975).
Thus, the motivation is on finding out an economical set of predictors that comprised of ideas for example supposed obstacles, social criteria, ailment severity, personal weakness, or apparent self-efficacy. These are then integrated into a prediction equation for clarifying behavioral intention and behavior change. The most important models of this kind are the `Theory of Reasoned Action`, `the Theory of Planned Behavior`, and the `Protection Motivation Theory`.
In view of the fact, the perceived self-efficacy functions together with positive result expectations, both of which help considerably to create an intention. Both the concepts are required for creating intentions to espouse complex behaviors, like regular physical exercise. When an individual generates an inclination towards specific health activities, the “good intention” has to be changed into comprehensive directives as how to carry out the intended activity. When a step has been taken, it has to be continued for a longer period of time. This generally is not realized as a result of a single step of will, however it entails self-controlling competencies and procedures. Hence, the post-intentional phase should be further split into more proximal aspects, i.e. planning and recovery self-efficacy. The mainstream social cognition models do not deal with clearly post-intentional aspects (Luszczynska & Schwarzer, 2005). However, Bandura (1997) offers in detail on pre-intentional and post-intentional procedures, nevertheless does not describe a specific post-intentional factor in a model illustration (Bandura, 2000).
Aside from the deficiencies at the empirical level, analysts have put forward two major theoretical drawbacks of continuum models. First, a single prediction rule for explaining behavior change suggests that cognitive and behavioral variations take place in a linear way, and that a uniform intervention approach is appropriate for all persons involved in unhealthy behaviors. As a result, it eliminates qualitative variations throughout the period, for example varying mindsets, phase changes, or to recycle back and forth. In accordance to continuum models, it is not significant whether a program approach is aimed first towards varying perceived weakness, apparent results, or supposed self-efficacy. Thus, programs are not needed to be developed in any specific sequence, however could be related in any sequence. Secondly, continuum models generally do not comprise the post-intentional stage in which objectives are changed into action. The part between intentions and behaviors is can be termed as a black box that is generally known as the “intention – behavior gap” (Sheeran, 2002). Nevertheless, it is generally frequent that people do not act according to their intentions. For instance, unexpected obstacles emerge, and people yield to lures.
In a post-intentional stage, different features can be compromised that helped in the translation of aims into action. Some of these post-intentional aspects have been established, for example maintenance self-efficacy and recovery self-efficacy (Luszczynska & Schwarzer, 2003 Scholz, Sniehotta, & Schwarzer, 2005), in addition to action planning and coping planning (Lippke, Ziegelmann, & Schwarzer, 2004 Sniehotta, Scholz, & Schwarzer, 2005 Ziegelmann, Lippke, & Schwarzer, 2006). To theorize health behavior change should not be limited to the motivation stage only, whilst eliminating the consequent action state that is more crucial for behavior changes. Better continuum models, thus, need to comprise features that assist in bridging the intention i.e. the behavior gap.
The self-efficacy has been noted to be critical at all phases in the health behavior change procedure (Bandura, 1997) however it does not always comprise precisely the same paradigm. Its significance is conditional on the specific circumstances of people who may be relatively complex in the change process. The division between various efficacy models has been discussed by Marlatt, Baer, and Quigley (1995) in the field of addictive behaviors. The underlying principle of the differences between phase-specific self-efficacy constructs is that throughout the period of health behavior change, various tasks have to have mastery over, and that dissimilar self-efficacy beliefs are needed to have command over these tasks effectively. For instance, many individuals might be convinced in their abilities to be physically strong generally, however, might not be very positive regarding initiating physical activities following the setbacks.
The long-established continuum models have been much criticized owing to the intention – behavior disparity. A model that clearly includes post-intentional aspects prevail over this disparity is the Health Action Process Approach (Lippke et al., 2004 Luszczynska & Schwarzer, 2003 Schüz, Sniehotta, Wiedemann, & Seemann, 2006 Sniehotta et al., 2005 Ziegelmann et al., 2006). The model proposes a disparity between (a) pre-intentional motivation procedures that brings about a behavioral intention, and (b) post-intentional preference processes that causes the definite health behavior. Hence, the model comprises of an implicit stage model. In the two stages, various outlines of social-cognitive predictors may appear. In the preliminary motivation stage, a person creates an intention as to act. At this stage, risk sensitivity is considered as a distant precursor. Risk perception is inadequate to help an individual to create an intention. In fact, it establishes the stage for a deliberation process and more explanation of thought regarding the outcomes and competencies.
The major addition of the HAPA to the earlier models lies in the inclusion of two preferential aspects namely volitional self-efficacy and strategic planning. The objectives of these additions were to prevail over the black-box characteristics of the intention – behavior interrelationship. Recognition of such preferential mediators assists in elucidating the methods that act after people have created an intention to modify their healthy behaviors.
By the further division of the health behavior change procedures into a motivator and a volitional stage, the disparity between continuum models and stage models is closed. The HAPA is comprised of a hybrid model because an individual can apply it either as the one or the other. As a continuum model, it comprised of two mediators between intention and behavior. As having created an intention showed a dissimilar attitude than having not acting so, HAPA can be regarded as the stage model. This distinction between phase-specific self-efficacy beliefs has proven useful in various domains of behavior change (see Marlatt et al., 1995).
Action self-efficacy tends to predict intentions, whereas maintenance self-efficacy tends to predict behaviors. Individuals who had recovered from a setback needed different self-beliefs than those who had maintained their levels of activity (Scholz et al., 2005). Several authors (Rodgers, Hall, Blanchard, McAuley, & Munroe, 2002 Rodgers & Sullivan, 2001) have found evidence for phase-specific self-efficacy beliefs in the domain of exercise behavior (i.e. task self-efficacy, maintenance self-efficacy, and scheduling self-efficacy). In studies applying the HAPA, phase-specific self-efficacy differed in the effects on various preventive health behaviors, such as breast self-examination (Luszczynska & Schwarzer, 2003), dietary behaviors (Schwarzer & Renner, 2000), and physical exercise (Scholz et al., 2005).
It can be concluded that adults who eat a balanced healthy diet, and engage themselves in various physical activities can considerably decrease their risks for many fatal diseases and enjoy a good lifestyle … being satisfactorily dynamic can considerably decrease mortality over the long term. It should be stressed that health psychology models and theories propose important support for health promotion and disease prevention programs. The incorporation of the existing evidence-based practice cognitive-behavioral models could definitely improve the effectiveness and usefulness of these programs, and ultimately lead to the advancement of public health.
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