In order to improve one’s health and quality of life, it is important to be aware of an individual’s health status. Our textbook authors, Meeks, Hait & Paige (2009) describe the importance of self-appraisals and health behavior inventories in teaching students about their practices that will impact their health. In order to become an effective teacher who is enthusiastic about health education, the author of this paper focuses on gaining a comprehensive understanding of her health.
After assessing my health through an internet tool available on the Council for Responsible Nutrition wellness campaign webpage, I have reached several conclusions and understanding of my current general health status. The health assessment tool on the webpage is called “my wellness score card”. The assessment analyzes nutritional choices, use of supplements, habits, exercise, and healthy weight relative to gender, height and age. Prior to this assessment of my lifestyle, I was aware of some of my bad habits but I was under the impression that I did enough to balance it.
Once I read the results, I was somewhat shocked! After careful thinking, I believe that finding out where I stand now, even though I suffer from few illnesses, can be beneficial, almost a wakeup call. Being aware of my habits and lifestyle choices is the first step in the right direction toward improving my health status. Below is the graph of my assessment results from the Council for Responsible Nutrition assessment. Overall Healthy Diet Supplements Exercise Healthy Choices General Health My overall score is low average and my general health is below average.
Helpful resource – Family Health Assessment
Both are accurate descriptions of my health status. I was recently identified as a pre-diabetic and my cholesterol levels were elevated. Additionally, nine months ago I was diagnosed with lupus, “a multifaceted disease which is often called the “great imitator,” as the symptoms of the disease mimic those of other diseases” (Lupus Foundation of America, 2010). An unfortunate set of events led to this morbid discovery. In September of 2008, I had an unexplained miscarriage after 10 weeks of pregnancy of what would have been our first child; it was a very challenging time emotionally and physically.
Soon after, depression and anxiety hit me and I was in denial for a long period of time. Around June of 2009, we learned that my husband will be deploying for eight months which was later extended to eleven months. Deployment anticipation and the deployment itself have worsened my anxiety and depression and I started suffering from mild insomnia. My husband encouraged me to see a therapist who has been working with me since July of 2009. Receiving therapy has saved me and continues to teach me how to successfully manage my stress and anxiety.
As for my lupus, I am still learning how to manage my pain and discomfort. In order to improve my overall health, a closer look at the different categories of the assessment is necessary. Healthy People 2010 advises that creating “action plans to address one or more of [leading health] indicators can have a profound effect on increasing the quality of life and the years of healthy life and on eliminating health disparities—creating healthy people in healthy communities” (Department of Health and Human Services, 2010). The first indicator to discuss is my physical activity.
Meeks, Heit & Page (2009) discuss the benefits of regular physical activities in chapter 9. Health goal #45 “I Will Participate in Regular Physical Activity” details the benefits I will be gaining by being regularly active are: reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, reducing the risk of developing high blood pressure, reducing the risk of developing colon cancer, reducing feelings of depression and anxiety, helps control my weight, and promoting psychological well-being (pgs.
272-74). My exercise score was particularly surprising to me. I am committed to working out however; I fall short of continuing the program. I tend to work out 3-5 times a week for couple months and then I stop for few months because of the life challenges I face. Additionally, I do not have a planned regiment or an exercise program which I believe is the cause of me skipping workouts. Health goal #46 “I Will Follow a Physical Fitness Plan” describes the importance of planning (Meeks, Heit & Paige, 2009, pgs.
275-76). My plan of attack is to set up an exercise workout of 40 minutes, 6 times a week. To ensure success of this strategy: I will work out with my friend Karina on two days out of the week in the morning, walk with my husband on the weekend, and go to the gym in Temecula on my way home from work on two days of the week. My positive trend of stretching before and after workouts is a habit I plan on keeping. The second factor affecting my overall score is my diet.
I am not totally satisfied with my nutritional choices. On most days, I consume two servings of vegetables and one serving of fruits. The amount I consume is significantly less than the recommended 3-5 vegetables servings and 2-3 fruits servings daily. Additionally, I don’t consume enough complex carbohydrates throughout the day which are detrimental to the successful management of diabetes (Meeks, Heit & Piage, 2009, p. 230). My diet is dependent on meat as a source of protein which is high in fat and cholesterol.
Health goal #36 “I Will Develop Healthful Eating Habits” provides information about recommended helpings of food as well as the proper planning of meals (Meeks, Heit & Piage, 2009, p. 234). There are positive choices I am making that I plan on continuing such as: drinking at least 2 liters of water daily, having a hearty breakfast, consuming skim dairy products, and following a low sodium and low sugar diet. Additionally, I am very consistent on taking my supplements.
Healthy People 2010 advocates the “use of clinical preventive services, such as early prenatal care,” (Department of Health and Human Services). After consuming breakfast, I take the following: a prescription prenatal vitamin with DHA, plant based omega, D3, and evening primrose oil. I feel that these supplements fit my needs and my future goal of becoming pregnant with a healthy child. The last factor to be discussed is other lifestyle choices and decisions that affect my overall health. I am proud that I was able to resist temptation to use cigarettes and drugs.
“Cigarette smoking is the single most preventable cause of disease and death in the United States,” (Department of Health and Human Services, 2010). Resisting smoking or using narcotics was not a difficult challenge because my parents and siblings set good examples by avoiding both. Other good choices I make are: zero consumption of alcohol, regular check-ups by my primary doctor, protecting my hearing by utilizing ear plugs during noisy activities, protecting my eyesight, and following road safety regulations.
Prior to analyzing my lifestyle and diet, I was unaware of the low amounts of vegetables and fruits I consume and the poor physical fitness I was receiving. This assignment, nonetheless, was a positive experience and truly opened my eyes to recognize and continue the positives and make plans to change the negatives in order to improve my overall health. Lastly, making some of these changes may be challenging but the impact on my overall health will be noteworthy. References Council for Responsible Nutrition.
(2010). Life supplemented. Retrieved from http://www. lifesupplemented. org/home. htm Department of Health and Human Services. (2010). Healthy People 2010. Retrieved from http://www. healthypeople. gov/Document/html/uih/uih_4. htm Lupus Foundation of America. (2010). About lupus. Retrieved from http://www. lupus. org/newsite/index. html Meeks, L. , Heit, P. , & Page, R. (2009). Comprehensive school health education: totally awesome strategies for teaching health. (6th ed). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill