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Helping Nurses Care for Self, Family, and Patients Through the Nurses Living Fit Intervention

Speroni, Karen Gabel PhD, MHSA, BSN, RN; Williams, Deborah Ann MSN, CMSRN; Seibert, Dorothy June PhD, MSN, RN; Gibbons, Mary G. MSN, RN; Earley, Cynthia BSN, RN-BC

doi: 10.1097/NAQ.0b013e3182a2f97f
Original Articles

Background: More than half of United States nurses are estimated to be overweight or obese. Interventions are needed that help nurses live healthier lifestyles. With most registered nurses being female and with an average age of 45.5 years in the category most likely to be obese, it is not promising that US nurses will become healthier over time without intervention. The Nurses Living Fit (NLF) program, an exercise- and nutrition-based intervention innovated by nurses, was developed to decrease body mass index in nurse participants and to help nurse's care for themselves and their families and patients.

Subjects: A total of 217 nurses self-selected to the NLF intervention (n = 108) or contrast (no intervention; n = 109) groups.

Methods: The NLF program included exercise (12 once-weekly sessions, 1 hour each), yoga (4 once-monthly sessions, 1 hour each), nutrition education (4 once-monthly sessions, 1 hour each taught by registered dietitians), diary completion (completed daily for 4 weeks specifying time spent on exercise/yoga, types and amount of food consumed, amount of water consumed, and hours slept), and healthy lifestyle principles education. Evaluation of the NLF program components was also completed.

Results: The NLF participants had significant decreases in body mass index (NLF = −0.5 kg/m2; contrast = −0.2 kg/m2) and waist circumference (NLF = −0.9 in; contrast = −0.2 in). Overall, program component evaluation demonstrated that participants wanted more personalized exercise, more nutrition education, and year-round program provision. As a result of the NLF program, nurses specified they exercised more and improved nutrition.

Conclusions: Evidence-based intervention or programs are needed to educate nurses on healthy lifestyles. Nurse leaders need to promote healthy workplace environments, which can be done in part through the facilitation of exercise- and nutrition-based programs, such as NLF, to help nurses better care for themselves and their families and patients.

Inova Loudoun Hospital, Leesburg (Drs Speroni and Seibert and Ms Earley), and Inova Fair Oaks Hospital, Fairfax (Drs Speroni and Seibert and Mss Williams and Gibbons), Virginia.

Correspondence: Karen Gabel Speroni, PhD, MHSA, BSN, RN, Inova Loudoun Hospital, 44045 Riverside Pkwy, Leesburg, VA 20176 or Inova Fair Oaks Hospital, 3600 Joseph Siewick Dr, Fairfax, VA 22033 (

No external funding was received for this study. The authors thank the Inova librarians. The authors acknowledge the NLF study team content developers (exercise: Pana DeGooyer, Good Sport Fitness, LLC; yoga: Doreen Zebdi Duarte and Kelly Armstrong; and nutrition: Sally Guise, registered dietitian, Inova Loudoun Hospital), the researchers and study teams (Gail Shorter, MSN, RN, CEN, and Sandra H. Bryan, MHA, BSN, RN-BC, Shore Health System, Cambridge, Maryland; Catherine Ware, BSN, RN-BC, CCRN, and April Greenlee, BSN, RN, Washington County Hospital, Hagerstown, Maryland; Winnie Hennessy, PhD, RN, CHPN, Roper Hospital, Charleston, South Carolina; and Erin Kosak, BSN, RN, and Jil Deschenes, RN, CPhT, Saint Francis Hospital, Charleston, South Carolina), and the statistician (Martin Atherton, DrPH).

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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