Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Do dietitians and nutritionists influence patient health behaviors beyond nutrition?
by Pagano, Gina, M.S.N., Bastyr University, 2012, 51; 1513570
Abstract (Summary)

Purpose. There is a paucity of research surrounding how counseling for non-dietary health behaviors by registered dietitians (RDs) and nutritionists influences the complex interactions among diet, stress, and mind-body wellness. The purpose of this study was to determine the frequency and confidence of counseling for non-dietary health behaviors by RDs and nutritionists in Washington State, and to determine if the personal health behaviors of practitioners are correlated with clinical practices.

Methods. A unique survey was developed from five validated tools to collect data on clinical practices, clinical practice beliefs, and personal health practices of RDs and nutritionists. The survey was administered to current practitioners in Washington State listed as members with the North Sound Dietetic Association, Greater Seattle Dietetic Association, and/or the Washington State Department of Health. Experience, practice area, and health behaviors were correlated with counseling frequency and confidence scores using Spearman's rho rank correlation.

Results. Years of experience was positively correlated with counseling patients on nutrition (.463 p=.010), exercise (.457 p=.015), and well-being (.448 p=.013). Private practice practitioners were correlated with counseling for stress management (.707 p=.000), spirituality (.525 p=.003), nutrition (.406 p=.026), exercise (.395 p=.037), and well-being (.388 p=.034) compared to other practice areas. Practitioners who had a high quality of life (.428 p=.029) and good mental and physical health (.634 p=.000) were more likely to counsel on nutrition. Personal diet, exercise, and stress levels were not significantly correlated with counseling.

Conclusions. Our findings indicate that Washington State RDs and nutritionists counsel for non-dietary health behaviors. Practitioners who are more experienced, in private practice and practice mindfulness are more likely to counsel for non-dietary health behaviors. More research is needed to explore whether counseling for mind-body health may improve clinical outcomes.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Oberg, Erica
Commitee: Harris, Cristen, Morrow, Kelly
School: Bastyr University
Department: Department of Nutrition
School Location: United States -- Washington
Source: MAI 51/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Alternative Medicine, Nutrition
Keywords: Health behavior change, Health behaviors, Nutrition counseling, Practitioner health behaviors, Stress management counseling, Wellbeing
Publication Number: 1513570
ISBN: 9781267433480
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