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Healthy Aging: Behavioral and Clinical Outcomes

  • Course Number: 6715
  • Credits: 3
  • Course Format: This online course is tailored for asynchronous distance learners.
  • Course Syllabus: Download

Professor Stephen Anton, Ph.D. Discusses GMS 6715

Course Description

Behavior contributes significantly to health, well-being and longevity. An abundance of research supports numerous behavioral guidelines for health promotion in older adults, including: regular physical activity; the maintenance of appropriate weight; dietary intake of fruits, vegetables, and fiber, coupled with low consumption of saturated fats; moderate use of alcohol; and the ability to cope effectively with stress. Thus, the purpose of this course is to present an overview of effects of lifestyle interventions designed to promote health outcomes in older adults. The course will emphasize the role that specific lifestyle behaviors have in increasing risk of functional decline and/or chronic pain during aging, as well as the role lifestyle interventions can have in promoting health and function during aging. Behavioral approaches for conceptualizing and changing behaviors to improve health will represent the major focus of the course. The primary focus of the course will be intervention at the individual and group level; however, we will also touch upon the contributions of sociology, epidemiology, medicine, political science and economics to understanding health and illness.

Course Goals

The objective of this course is an in-depth exploration of the major health issues facing the growing population of older adults, namely physical disability, cognitive decline, and chronic pain. We will examine the behavioral antecedents of major of chronic disease conditions that can affect functional capacity during aging and potentially decrease longevity. We will focus in detail on behavioral interventions to modify risk factors for disease and improve or maintain function, including the conceptual basis for the interventions, clinical trial data supporting their efficacy, and their application in clinical practice.