Obesity Nursing Diagnosis and Nursing Care Plan

Last updated on May 18th, 2022 at 09:59 am

Obesity Nursing Care Plans Diagnosis and Interventions

Obesity NCLEX Review and Nursing Care Plans

Obesity is defined as a complex, chronic disorder having excessive fat (adipose tissue) accumulation— approximately 20% above the baseline weight in association with gender, age, and height. Patients having a BMI greater than 25 are considered overweight, greater than 30 deemed obese, and greater than 40 morbidly obese.

It is crucial to recognize obesity from being overweight. Although both terms may seem vague, they both translate to weight exceeding what is considered healthy to an individual.

If left untreated or unregulated, obesity can, in time, cause complications in the long run. 

Causes of Obesity

Obesity may arise from several conditions and dynamics but is often associated with an imbalance in energy intake and consumption. The following are also possible grounds for obesity: 

  • Existing medical conditions
  • Use of medications
  • Excess calorie intake
  • Unhealthy habits (e.g., overeating)
  • Unhealthy lifestyle routines
  • Sedentary regimes
  • Age
  • Lack of Sleep or Insomnia
  • Genetic makeup
  • Presence of stress

Signs and Symptoms of Obesity

The common signs and symptoms for adults suffering from obesity are the following: 

  • Excess body fat in specific areas such as the waist
  • Dyspnea
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Struggle with performing physical activity
  • Fatigue
  • Mental issues (e.g., depression, anxiety)

Complications of Obesity

Several conditions are said to arise when an individual is considered obese, and the following are the associated comorbidities: 

Diagnosis of Obesity

  1. Measurement of body mass index
  2. Review the patient’s medical and family history – to determine the cause of obesity, whether it is organic (presence of chromosomal aberrations, insulin resistance, etc.)
  3. Physical examination and assessment – the attending physician may implement measurements in the waist circumference to aid with diagnosis. The patient’s status is usually included (e.g., blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature).
  4. Blood tests to evaluate cholesterol or triglyceride level.

Treatment for Obesity

The treatment for obesity is usually predisposed to mitigating the risk factors associated with the condition. Improving and maintaining the individual’s weight at a healthy state by employing preventive measures and healthy lifestyle choices is the standard approach of therapeutic management. The following treatment plans may also be administered::

  1. Dietary or lifestyle changes
  2. Surgery
  3. Medications as prescribed by attending physician

Prevention of Obesity

Prevention of diabetes is inclined with avoidance to predisposing activities, and these include:

  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Unhealthy quality of life
  • Avoidance of food containing high calorie and sugar

Nursing Diagnosis for Obesity

Obesity Nursing Care Plan 1

Obesity Nursing Diagnosis: Imbalanced Nutrition: More Than Body Requirements related to excess food intake secondary to obesity, as evidenced by excess body weight of about 20%, excess body fat by skin folds, excess food intake more than body requirements, and impaired eating pattern. 

Desired outcomes: 

  • The patient will successfully manage unhealthy eating habits and behavior. 
  • The patient will demonstrate improved eating patterns
  • The patient actively partakes in the individualized care plan.
Nursing Interventions for ObesityRationale
Assess the probable cause for obesity, whether it is organic or nonorganic.To identify possible interferences that may affect the nursing intervention.
Using open-ended questions, ask the patient about his/her feelings regarding unhealthy eating habits.Employing open-ended questions would help alleviate the patient’s emotions due to the allowance of expression and articulation. Apart from that, this would also help healthcare providers identify the patient’s need to eat, whether it is associated with emotional urgency or physiological hunger  
Review the patient’s dietary intake from calorie intake, amount and type of foods, eating patterns.To enable a more realistic approach and picture of the patient’s current eating behavior, feelings, and eating habits. Similarly, it would help pinpoint specific areas (eating patterns) to improve on to tailor the interventions with what is required. 
Encourage the patient to have his/her meals at a designated eating area (e.g., table) that is tension-free and avoid eating too quickly. To provide a relaxed and stress-free environment that would likely make it convenient and relaxing for eating. A slow eating pace would also help the appestat mechanism avoid disturbance of the body’s appetite.  
Develop an eating or dietary plan associated with the patient’s physical demographics (e.g., body build, height, gender, age, eating patterns, nutritional requirements, energy, etc.). Ascertain which strategies have been employed, including interferences in the result, frustrations of the patient, and factors impeding the success.There is no better diet than others; however, one of the profound factors agreed upon is foods containing low fat. Meals should contain all fundamental food groups and an appropriate amount of these in compensation for the body’s lean muscle mass. Having a closely aligned or similar plan with the patient’s usual eating pattern is helpful since it increases the success of follow-through with the diet plan.

Obesity Nursing Care Plan 2

Obesity Nursing Diagnosis: Disturbed Body Image related to excess weight secondary to obesity as evidenced by verbalization of negative thought processes about the body, loss of hope, powerlessness, obsession with losing weight, uncontrolled eating habits, and lack of perseverance with the dietary plan. 

Desired outcomes: 

  • The patient will effectively verbalize negative feelings and perceptions about his/her self-image.
  • The patient will have a more realistic self-image rather than an idealistic one.
  • The patient will acknowledge and accept self (body and mental image). 
Nursing Interventions for ObesityRationale
Using open-ended questions, ask the patient about his/her thoughts with the condition, body weight.To determine the effect of the patient’s mental image on his/her condition.
Ensure that any information and care plans shall be mandated with the patient’s confidentiality and privacy. The patient may feel self-conscious and highly aware of what is happening around him/her. This could potentially disrupt the intervention, and thus, jeopardize it in return. It is crucial to ensure that the patient would feel safe and comfortable with the care plan activities.  
Promote nurse-patient relationship and approach the patient with a non-judgmental attitude. Openly relay the function and role of both patient and the attending nurse.Giving the patient the insights he/she needs promotes understanding and responsibility. This would foster the patient’s willingness to verbalize struggles and regain their sense of control of the situation. At the same time, a non-judgmental attitude of staff and nurses allows the patient’s trust and ease to prosper.
Ask the patient about eating patterns in the past, particularly to the family of origin (family unit). Investigate its influence on the patient’s condition. Being the first source of correspondence and interaction, learning more about the patient’s family of origin is beneficial as it will directly translate learned maladaptive behaviors. 
Support the patient in verbalizing his/her feelings and assess areas that may have led to compulsive eating. Encourage the patient to write in a journal. The patient must identify his/her feelings about the condition. Being aware significantly improves how one sees and addresses the situation. With that said, it is one of the first steps to make in changing the unhealthy behaviors (e.g., overeating due to anger, depression, and guilt) that could potentially lead to more aggravation and worsening.

Obesity Nursing Care Plan 3

Obesity Nursing Diagnosis: Impaired Social Interaction related to self-actualize disturbance secondary to obesity as evidenced by the unwillingness to socialize, and verbalization or expression of discomfort in the presence of others

Desired outcomes: 

  • The patient will demonstrate a more realistic self-image.
  • The patient will verbalize awareness and knowledge of poor social acclimation. 
  • The patient will demonstrate improved lifestyle changes and social behaviors. 
Nursing Interventions for ObesityRationale
Assess the patient’s family of origins, including the possible patterns contributing to his/her condition.The patient’s first point of contact and social interaction is through the family. And by identifying several factors and patterns of activities affecting the patient, interventions can easily be assimilated and formulated.
Promote verbalization about feelings by encouraging the patient to express his/her emotions and views of the problem. To better recognize the factors affecting the patient’s interaction and socialization with others. 
Assess the patient’s coping mechanism and allow him/her to list down activities causing discomfort and stress. Determining the routine strategies of the patient can be beneficial during the weight loss process. Coping strategies are effective in areas of concern as they will alleviate secludedness and isolation behaviors. Likewise, listing down concerning activities or behaviors would help mitigate feelings of discomfort. This would also effectuate change to take place.  
Suggest the practice of positive self-talk to the patient by positively affirming oneself by saying: “I am fine and I do not need to be controlled by others,” “I am enjoying life,” and “I am enjoying social gatherings.To promote the patient’s confidence and ease. Positive affirmations help the patient take a step to change.
Refer the patient for continuing family or personal therapy as prescribed.Having other support systems integrated or participative in the patient’s therapy would greatly help ease their feelings and burden.

Obesity Nursing Care Plan 4

Obesity Nursing Diagnosis: Deficient Knowledge related to limited understanding and insufficient information presentation as evidenced by limited information about nutritional needs and obesity, verbalization of concerns regarding weight loss, and lack of follow-through with previous diet and exercise plans. 

Desired outcomes: 

  • The patient will seek more information (e.g., nutrition and ways of controlling weight) on his/her pursuit of weight loss. 
  • The patient will verbalize the need for controlling and managing unhealthy lifestyle choices and weight gain. 
  • The patient will effectively demonstrate the willingness to achieve the goal. 

Nursing Interventions for ObesityRationale
Assess the patient’s knowledge about his/her nutrition and investigate what he/she believes to be of urgent addressing.It is crucial to acquire any necessary information to aid the care plan. Usually, how the patient views the situation will significantly impact the intervention. At the same time, by ensuring that the patient’s perspective is taken into account, it will serve as a rapport for trust to prosper.
Determine subsequent sources of information such as books, videos, community classes, and groups. Allowing a multitude of expedients of information will promote and increase the patient’s learning. Involvements such as taking up community classes can provide mutual support to the patient.
Encourage the patient to partake in other activities (such as biking, attending the theater, recreations participating in group exercises and etc.) to avoid concentrating and centralizing on food.To promote relaxation and pleasurable activities not centered around food or meals.  
Educate the patient on the use of mechanical equipment or spot-reducing devices.Having other avenues of exercise or activity is crucial, especially when there are lapses in the weather, time, or travel. Mechanical devices or other forms of spot-reducing exercise equipment would likely ensure the continuation of the exercise plan. However, it is essential to note that spot-reducing devices focus only on specific body areas.  
Evaluate the patient’s tolerance by identifying optimal heart rate during exercise. Demonstrate appropriate monitoring of pulse.To promote safeness and precaution.   

Obesity Nursing Care Plan 5

Obesity Nursing Diagnosis: Impaired Physical Mobility related to restricted movements secondary to obesity as evidenced by excess body fat and verbalization of difficulty in mobilizing.

Desired Outcomes: 

  • The patient will demonstrate an increase in his/her mobility skills.
  • The patient presents active participation in daily activities.
  • The patient will show positive changes of reduced-fat or weight. 
Nursing Interventions for ObesityRationale
Assess the patient’s tolerance and capability to perform ADLs.To determine the patient’s capability to tolerate ADLs. Proper treatment and intervention can be implemented if it is determined that the patient is capable. This is important to substantiate as patients tend to be compromised or deconditioned. Similarly, it predicts the likelihood of developing complications.
Determine the patient’s inclination to reduce body weight.Determining the patient’s willingness to reduce or lose weight can significantly help the intervention plan. And usually, this could indicate exercise routines to implement.
Encourage the patient to undergo a conditional and individualized exercise plan. Individualized exercise programs/plans are suitable for deconditioned patients. This is because of specific tailoring exercise plans that the patient can quickly adapt to. Formulation usually considers the patient’s demographics (e.g., health, lifestyle, physical ability, etc.). Due to this, modifications aligned with the patient’s needs can easily be assimilated with the exercise program.
Recommend exercises that are less straining to the jointsLow impact exercises should be assimilated into the exercise plan since heavy impact exercises can weigh both bones and joints in the long run. Exercises such as swimming, cycling, and walking are subtle workout routines with low impact on the bones and joints.
Educate the patient on lifestyle routines and inform him/her of the possibility of developing complications if there are extended periods of inactivityEducation is the key to success and prevention; thus, this is important to delineate. There are lifestyle routines that could increase the risk of developing ailments (cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus type 2, and increased cholesterol), and often, inactivity is said to be correlated with obesity.

Nursing References

Ackley, B. J., Ladwig, G. B., Makic, M. B., Martinez-Kratz, M. R., & Zanotti, M. (2020). Nursing diagnoses handbook: An evidence-based guide to planning care. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.  Buy on Amazon

Gulanick, M., & Myers, J. L. (2022). Nursing care plans: Diagnoses, interventions, & outcomes. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier. Buy on Amazon

Ignatavicius, D. D., Workman, M. L., Rebar, C. R., & Heimgartner, N. M. (2020). Medical-surgical nursing: Concepts for interprofessional collaborative care. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.  Buy on Amazon

Silvestri, L. A. (2020). Saunders comprehensive review for the NCLEX-RN examination. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.  Buy on Amazon


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Anna Curran. RN, BSN, PHN

Anna Curran. RN-BC, BSN, PHN, CMSRN I am a Critical Care ER nurse. I have been in this field for over 30 years. I also began teaching BSN and LVN students and found that by writing additional study guides helped their knowledge base, especially when it was time to take the NCLEX examinations.

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