Ending Type 2 Diabetes One Exercise, Nutrition, and Gardening Class at a Time

The One Main Use of Food Diaries in Diabetes Prevention Nutrition Education

In Nutrition Class on July 1, 2010 at 1:10 PM

For clinicians, food diaries have one essential role: to guide curriculum development. Every single aspect of the food diary, from dissemination to evaluation, can be utilized as a teaching opportunity.

When Elizabeth asks who likes to read or write before handing out the food diaries, she gains insight into her patients’ literacy rate. Knowing participants’ literacy rate then informs how she might teach the segment on Nutrition Facts, for example.

When people fail to fill out or bring in their food diaries, Elizabeth can see that as an indication of a barrier that, if overlooked, could prevent them from accomplishing their healthy living goals. Non-participation, in other words, is an opening for providing extra support where needed.

Elizabeth uses the food diary content to influence the flavor of subsequent classes as well. For instance, imagine a participant writes, ‘1.5 cups rice with beans’ for lunch 5 days in a row. Elizabeth will talk about diversifying ones diet, especially in the direction of fresh fruits and vegetables.

If a participant is not loosing weight and their food diary indicates a responsible diet, Elizabeth then has a platform on which to inquire into their other habits that may be preventing them from accomplishing their weight loss goals.

At the close of programs, Elizabeth will use the food diary to track trends. “I have never seen a grapefruit in someone’s diary” she declares in an interview. People generally do not report snacks, nor does their fresh fruit and vegetable intake general rise above 33% per week. Understanding these constraints enables the Diabetes Prevention Program’s Nutrition Class to continually evolve to meet the needs of its participants.


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