Iowa State students join smartphone nutrition coaching initiative

The program hopes to prevent chronic diseases by helping people modify their lifestyle behaviors and diet.
The program hopes to prevent chronic diseases by helping people modify their lifestyle behaviors and diet. | File photo

Students in the Iowa State University dietetic internship program will take part in a nutrition coaching initiative, led by the Partnership for a Healthier America and One Medical Group, that serves low-income families through their smartphones.

“It’s a very contemporary way to provide health care,” Iowa State dietetic internship program director Jean Anderson said. “By connecting with people on their phone, you’re reaching them in a way that is simple and convenient. It’s also a great opportunity for the interns to use the technology to build their motivational interviewing and coaching skills through the continued promotion of healthy eating and healthy lifestyles.”

The students will spend three months training with One Medical before beginning to work with clients. The initiative hopes to serve 500 clients over the next 18 months, with a focus on parents who can share the information they learn with their children.

“Typically, this is a target audience that dietitians work with more on the clinical side and not so much on the preventive side,” Iowa State chair of Food Sciences and Human Nutrition Ruth MacDonald said. “This takes the approach to prevent chronic diseases by helping people modify their lifestyle behaviors and diet so that they stay healthy and out of the clinic.”

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