A Call to Action for Physical Activity Guidelines in Long-term Care in North Carolina and the Potential for Gardening as an Activity to Meet Physical Activity Guidelines Public Deposited

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  • February 27, 2019
  • Bunch, Julia
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Nutrition
  • In the United States in 2012, the older adult population (age 65 years and over) made up ~15% of the population and was projected to increase to ~20% of the population by 2030. This represents an increase from 48 million to 70 million people (Ortman & Velkoff, 2014). In North Carolina, the older adult population age 65 years and over made up ~14% in 2013, with projections to increase to 20% of the population by 2033 (NCDHHS 2015) (See Appendix I for more N.C. statistics on aging). With this increase in the older adult population, it is reasonable to assume that there will be an increase in nursing home and care community populations. In 2013, ~85 percent of the nursing home population and ~93 percent of the residential care community population was made up of older adults age 65 and over (CDC, 2013). There were 15,700 nursing homes in the U.S. in 2013, with the total number of residents ~1.4 million people (CDC, February 2015). There has been an increased research focus on quality of life and maintaining health and physical function of older adults in long-term care. Many of these studies focus on activities, either individual or group-based, that improve the quality of life and physical function of residents in long-term care. Some studies also focus on programs in long-term care and their ability to meet the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s physical activity guidelines for older adults, yet there is no formal physical activity policy in place for long-term care facilities in North Carolina. A general format for such a policy could be modeled similar to the physical activity guidelines for the preschool population in childcare facilities in North Carolina. This paper, in addition to addressing physical activity guidelines, will examine gardening as a form of physical activity for older adults and its potential to meet physical activity guidelines in long-term care settings. There is also research on gardening as an activity for the older adult population and its ability as an activity to meet physical activity guidelines. Gardening as an activity for older adults has been studied for over 30 years, yet gardening as an intervention in long-term care facilities remains rare. This paper will propose implementation of physical activity guidelines for long-term care facilities in North Carolina. Gardening will be the primary focus area for physical activity interventions as well as examine studies involving the effects of gardening on older adult populations, with a specific focus on applying findings to long-term care facilities. To date, there are few studies that focus on gardening programs in long-term care facilities, and therefore, a missed opportunity to apply the benefits of gardening to older adults living in long-term care.
Date of publication
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  • In Copyright
  • Holliday, Amanda
  • Master of Public Health
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2015
Deposit record
  • ec6acc1f-dd30-446a-a923-ede8671f2c72

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