Nutrition Prescriptions Coupled with Culinary Medicine Sessions Improve Health Literacy

Improving nutrition/health literacy has been recognized as a leading, sustainable factor in treatment regimen adherence. However; research shows the general population has a difficult time translating nutrition education into actionable steps. Our research shows even those with self-reported moderate to good literacy skills can find nutrition information confusing and thereby reducing adherence. Registered dietitians are in a position to create a nutrition prescription-coupled with novel nutrition education tools-to help bridge the gap between diagnosis and better health. This session uses case studies to illustrate how to write clear, concise nutrition prescriptions and how to use culinary medicine sessions to further define nutrition education and give patients practice using the information. Additional effective strategies to improve health literacy will be discussed such as asking open-ended questions, teaching hands-on cooking skills, using a teach and teach back method and facilitating discussions using clear and common words (i.e.“fats” instead of lipids). Case studies include diverse patient populations: Migrant worker’s free clinics, Native American groups, transient families following oil field and construction work and those transitioning into society from prison, rehabilitation centers and homelessness. Data from a small pilot study (n=17 patients) showed changes in HbA1c and weight were statistically significant ( < .05) suggesting efficacy for nutrition prescriptions coupled with culinary medicine sessions. Major health outcomes reported were measures of increased health literacy: More accurate nutrition health awareness, increased confidence in ability to follow a nutrition prescription and a decrease in confusion and hopelessness often associated with chronic health issues.