Your Health Your Life
In April 2015 IHA researchers Dr Cat Connaughton and Dr Gemma Tatengelo presented at the Australian Psychological Society’s Health Psychology Conference in Sydney about an early intervention pilot program they ran which targeted healthy lifestyle deficits in men aged 45 to 60 years old. Men in this age group are a largely neglected demographic in both the health literature and intervention space, with few programs geared specifically towards their health needs and even fewer focusing on building skills for positive change.
With an ageing population, the burden on health resources associated with preventable health concerns such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes is on the rise. The Your Health Your Life program specifically targeted men at their mid-life, and focused on facilitating behavior change rather than simply providing information on the importance of diet and exercise. The program encouraged participants to identify an area of health they wished to change, and focused on building skills for adopting positive health behaviours, including addressing psychological factors presenting as barriers to change.
Participants achieved positive results in terms of weight loss and self-reported health, and their feedback indicated the program was effective because it examined the impact of stress and work on achieving health-related goals, and encouraged the establishment of sustainable behaviours that took into account the work and home lives of the individual.
Developing new projects to build on this work on middle-aged to older men’s health will be a focus for the Institute for Health and Ageing over coming months.