I’ve ranted before on this blog about the need to focus on improving people’s health literacy if we truly want to change lifestyle disease trends. So this article in Medical News Today regarding a new algorithm developed by a doctoral student and her professor at the University of Illinois - really got my attention.
According to the article, only 80% of the dietitians that the researchers surveyed did a pre-assessment of their clients’ nutrition literacy. Concerned by those numbers, Heather Gibbs, with the support of her professor, Karen Chapman-Novakofski, created a new tool that clinicians can use to understand what types of basic knowledge about nutrition people may be lacking.
As Chapman-Novakofski says in the article, ”During a routine physical, your doctor may tell you that your blood pressure is high and that you need to watch your salt intake. But what does that mean to you? A better-case scenario would be for the doctor to ask if you can name some foods that are high in sodium. If you can’t, then she knows you need to have a conversation about how to identify higher-sodium foods.”
It’s a relief to hear that people are doing more to address this nutrition literacy problem. Great work Heather and Karen!