Use of the Health Improvement Card by Chinese physical therapy students

A pilot study

Xubo Wu, Alice Y.M. Jones, Yiwen Bai, Jia Han, Elizabeth Dean

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Abstract

This study investigated the perceptions of Chinese physical therapy students on use of the Health Improvement Card (HIC) as a clinical tool to assess lifestyle and prescribe health education to others. The biometrics and health indices/attributes/lifestyles of these students were also evaluated with self-administration of the HIC. After a tutorial on the HIC and its clinical application, physical therapy students (n = 82) from two Chinese universities, completed the Chinese translation of the HIC followed by a questionnaire on students’ perceptions of it. Second, they invited a friend/relative to complete the HIC. Then, they provided feedback on the HIC’s strengths and challenges related to its administration. The data were analyzed with descriptive statistics and content thematic analysis. Response rate of self-completed HICs was 100% (n = 82) and that of questionnaires was 99% (n = 81). Participants’ age range was 20–34 years; mean body mass index (BMI) was 23.9±5.4 for men and 20.5±2.6 kg/m2 for women. Generally, participants had low-risk BMIs (82%) and blood pressures (BPs) (91%), moderate-risk dietary habits (90%), but fewer had low-risk exercise habits (41%). Of 81 friends/relatives who participated, 25% had high-risk exercise habits. Student participants concurred the HIC is useful in developing lifestyle education programs. Challenges included uncertainty about obtaining laboratory data, serving-size quantities and confidence to effect lifestyle change in others. Although students appeared receptive to assessing health and lifestyle behaviors using the HIC, they reported being unconfident to prescribe long-term effective lifestyle advice. We recommend introducing the HIC in physical therapy curricula as an effective way of sensitizing emerging physical therapists to their responsibility to assess health/attributes/lifestyle non-communicable diseases (NCDs) risk factors. Prescribing lifestyle education/counselling warrants greater curricular focus. Further research will establish how HIC data and information can be effectively used as a clinical assessment and education tool to target health and lifestyle, and track behavior change over time.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0221630
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalPLoS One
Volume14
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sep 2019

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