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Initial Research Reveals Positive Health Impacts of Creative Arts Therapies and Nutrition Education in Postmenopausal Women

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Women’s emotional and cardiovascular health can suffer throughout menopause, lowering their quality of life. A pilot research at Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions examined how art therapy could help overweight postmenopausal women transition.

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I2CAN: Integrative Approach Combining Nutrition Education and Creative Arts Therapies Benefits Postmenopausal Women’s Health

The Art Therapy trial examined whether nutrition education and creative arts therapies (art and dance/movement therapy) may reduce cardiometabolic risk and improve psychosocial well-being in this group of women. Participants improved in quality of life, self-efficacy, stress, anxiety, and body image using the integrated approach. All subjects’ BMI and blood pressure dropped.

A 16-week online intervention called I2CAN (Integrative Intervention with Creative Arts Therapies and Nutrition) targeted postmenopausal women with BMIs exceeding 25 kg/m2. Nutrition instruction and creative arts therapy swapped weekly, led by a dietitian and two creative arts therapists.

Creative arts treatment addresses quality of life, emotional control, body image, and stress. These sessions comprised movement warm-ups, art therapy directives, journaling, and verbal processing. The nutrition education workshops covered goal setting, healthy eating, portion sizes, food groupings, and hydration.

READ ALSO: Limited Focus On Men’s Mental Health Issues

Multimodal Intervention Shows Health Improvements for Postmenopausal Women: Larger Study Planned

At the study’s end, participants reported several health improvements despite the limited sample size. Standardized pre- and post-intervention questionnaires and physical measurements like height, weight, BMI, and blood pressure were analyzed. The researchers interviewed and took field notes to understand individuals’ 16-week experiences.

Due to the small sample size, the study suggests that a multimodal intervention with educational, expressive, and creative components may improve the physiological and psychosocial well-being of postmenopausal women with an elevated BMI and cardiovascular disease risk.

This research emphasizes the necessity of meeting physical and mental requirements during menopause, especially in an underserved group. In January 2024, the study team will begin a bigger, randomized control experiment supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Commonwealth Universal Study Enhancement (CURE) funding program to investigate this strategy. This enlarged trial seeks to compare the integrative approach to nutrition education alone.

READ ALSO: Conduct At-Home Health Assessments And Transfer Information To Telehealth Services Using This Device.

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