“Are you eating healthy?” Nutrition discourse in Midwestern clinics for the underserved

Stephanie M. Curtis, Mary S. Willis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective To investigate nutrition information provided and exchanged between patients and health providers in Midwestern clinics for underserved populations. Methods Forty-six clinic visits were observed to determine content and direction of nutrition information. In-depth data were collected with clinicians and clinic administrators regarding nutrition education provided to patients. Results All patients were diagnosed with multiple obesity-related morbidities. Although women more often posed nutrition questions, few patients asked about dietary intake. Two-thirds of healthcare professionals initiated discussion about dietary intake; however, nutrition education was not provided regardless of clinician's profession. Conclusions Patients did not appear to link morbidity with diet. Providers did not share comprehensive nutrition knowledge during clinic visits. Dietitians, who specialize in nutrition education, rarely had access to patients. Implications Nutrition education during clinic visits is essential for reducing obesity rates. Nutrition students need clinic experience and could provide important patient education at low cost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1641-1646
Number of pages6
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • Medically underserved populations
  • Nutrition education and chronic disease
  • Obesity and over-nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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