Name of the activity: La Batida – (sub) Lifestyle Patrol! Watch out!

Country/NMO: Panama (IFMSA-Panama)

Program: Healthy Lifestyles & Non-Communicable Diseases

 

Contact information: [email protected]

Type of the activity: Campaign

 

General description:

First, we must know the term: “Batida” which is used in Panama to refer the police.
As doctors we must follow the recommendations we give to our patients. During the years as students the first thing we do is neglecting our health, less sleep, junk food, less physical activity; and all our time is taken up by the study.
During one month, medical students will be under constant supervision and support, they will receive recommendations based on scientific evidence about achieving a healthy lifestyle, by making their meals healthier and starting exercise routines and workouts to avoid injuries.
The fun comes up when the “health police” (friends of the participants working unnoticed) keep us abreast of every activity of the students: their food during classes, lunch hours, their physical activities, their lifestyle, wrong or right habits, they inform us with photos, funny photos!
The ultimate goal is for the participants to learn how to sustain a healthy routine and avoid unhealthy habits.
They should develop skills in order to listen and transmit information to patients in a future, work within groups for a common goal and demonstrate that a healthy life is not a boring life.

Focus area:

Prevention of NCDs and Health Promotion

Problem statement:

“Practice what you preach” appears to be a difficult task for medical practitioners, we are known for traditionally neglecting our own health in favor of our many professional and personal obligations. As we grow and learn during our career, we notice and identify many bad habits we’ve practiced through our life and others that has begun and worsened during the career such as smoking, high sugar intake, lack of sleep, high stress levels… but not often enough we do something to solve these issues.
Carrying a healthy lifestyle is a huge challenge for patients, and even if improving lifestyle practices is commonly the 1st intervention suggested for many diseases, this is not followed as as it should. An article by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine states that obese patients are advised to lose weight only 36% of the time during regular examination. Physicians also cited inadequate confidence and lack of knowledge and skill as a major barrier to counseling patients about lifestyle interventions. Therefore, we believe that educating medical students in lifestyle practices by practicing it can be beneficial to encourage their future patients into this difficult task.

Target groups and beneficiaries:

TARGET GROUP: Medical students and medical practitioners.
BENEFICIARIES: Medical students, other medical practitioners and patients.
We trust this an appropriate target because:
1. The follow up on their progress more achievable due to the proximity of the participants to the organizers.
2. It’s an opportunity for interaction and exchange of information among students.
3. Practicing a healthy lifestyle, educating and advising our patients can become an easier task by providing the appropriate information to empower them. They will need for theirselves and for their patients, as well as inspiring them with their example. There is no greater testimony than action itself.

Objectives and indicators of success:

1. Challenge participants to improve their lifestyle by carrying a healthier lifestyle routine under the watch of the activity’s organizers, other participants and special helpers (health cops) during 1 month by identifying their unhealthy habits before the challenge, correcting them through its duration and comparing them with their pre-challenge information.
INDICATORS: At least 5 unhealthy habits identified on the pre-challenge questionnaire will be compared to the participants success on correcting them at the end of month.

2. Provide information and professional counseling needed to do the proper adjustments on their lifestyles.
INDICATOR: Execution of lectures and workshops and personalized analysis by health professionals on lifestyle, nutritional and physical improvement.

3. Encourage participants to continue practicing a healthier lifestyle with follow up calls or face-to-face meetings and inviting them to health promotion activities, for 6 months after the challenge.
INDICATOR: Applying a questionnaire in the follow up calls or face-to-face meetings and comparing the information obtained to the participants results.

Methodology:

1. Participants will be recruited 3 weeks before the initiation of the challenge via social media, personal invitation and others.
Inscriptions to the activity will include a questionnaire that will help us identify their main unhealthy habits and personalized analysis of their health to suggest their goals during the challenge.
2. Participants will be instructed will the rules on the challenge and requested for information to contact possible “health cops” that will aid us during the surveillance of their personal goals. Their identity will remain secret to the participants during the duration of the challenge.
3. The challenge will begin with an introduction meeting and personalized suggestion of health improvements and daily goals.
4. On each weekend during the challenge, assistants will participate on a Group Challenge which consists on activities that promote healthy lifestyle, such as yoga classes, nutrition lectures, walk outs, team sport, etc. directed by certificated instructors.
5. During the week, we will request information from “health cops” of the participants progress with pictures and testimony.
Reaching their daily goals will allow participants to earn a point and by breaking the rules they will lose a point. The participant with more points and the end of the month will be the winner.
6. Participant can earn extra points by subscribing to Week Challenges like: practicing yoga, swimming or running daily for 7 days.
7. At the end of the month, participants will enjoy a health promotion event in which the winner will be awarded.
8. Activity organizers will have follow up calls and face-to-face meetings with participants to encourage them on maintaining a healthier lifestyle also by inviting them to health promoting events.

Plans for evaluation:

1. Each execution of the activity will have a data base and report that includes:
2. Participants general information and pre-challenge analysis conclusions, lifestyle improvement suggestions and daily goals plan.
3. Information gathered from their “health cops”.
4. Scoring and attendance to weekly activities.
5. Results will be shown by the percentage of lifestyle improvements obtained based on their -main unhealthy habits (at least 5)- identified at the beginning of the challenge.
6. Follow up calls and face-to-face meetings during 6 months after the challenge will help us identify a maintenance on a healthier lifestyle.