Family NutritionCooking

The Family Nutrition program is the nutrition branch of the Health Outreach Programs (HOPs). It is jointly run by WUSM's PHIG and SNMA. Medical students lead a course of five two-hour sessions aimed at teaching St. Louis families the principles of healthy eating. Participants discuss various food choices, the physiologic impact of each on health, and take part in choosing, cooking, and eating healthy food options. At each class, students guide participants in cooking a healthy meal from start to finish to maximally encourage behavior change [1]. The weekly classes allow for greater continuity of care -- longer time for participants to experiment, apply the skills they learn, build a rapport with student educators [2].

While modern medicine focuses on intervention, we believe the physician's job includes promoting health and disease prevention. Management of health and prevention of chronic disease begins at home. Family Nutrition brings much-needed health literacy, motivation and support to low-income community members who need it most. Family Nutrition sends a powerful message to participants and is a practical "crash course" in motivational interviewing, the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change, and cultural sensitivity for medical students.

[1] J, Di Noia, et al. "Dietary stages of change and decisional balance: a meta-analytic review.."Am J Health Behav. 34.5 (2010): 618-32. Print.

[2] Gonnella, Joseph S. "Continuity of Care." JAMA 243.4 (1980): 352-354. Print.