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Study on benefits of nutrition therapy in a home setting

University of North Florida assistant professors Dr. Kristen Hicks-Roof, nutrition and dietetics, and Dr. Jasper Xu, health administration, have recently co-published a study examining how registered dietitian nutritionists (RDN) providing individualized medical nutrition therapy (MNT) in the home impacted nutrition, physical activity and food security.

While there has been significant research conducted on nutritional care in healthcare facilities including hospitals and private care facilities, little has been published supporting the use of MNT in home settings. Hoping to build on a much-needed area of RDN MNT research, Hicks-Roof and Xu’s research studied over 1,000 participants receiving one-on-one nutritional counseling with a RDN in the participant's home.

The study indicates that RDNs are uniquely fitted to provide MNT in the home setting. By using the home as the location of care delivery, RDNs can get a full picture of the environment and nearby resources surrounding the individual, thus providing personalized counseling that can improve dietary behaviors, boost physical activity and provide resources needed to address food insecurity. This secondary data analysis was one of the first in the past several decades to demonstrate the impact of RDNs delivering MNT in the home setting.

Dr. Hicks-Roof is a registered dietitian nutritionist and holds a doctoral degree focused in nutrition education from Texas A&M University. Her major research interests include the impact of nutrition-focused continuing medical education for practicing physicians and early determinants of increasing practical nutrition knowledge. During her doctoral studies, Dr. Hicks-Roof founded and currently coordinates a mentorship program, which connected local registered dietitians and undergraduate dietetics students. Her aim is to increase professionalism within the dietitian community while providing hands-on nutrition experiences for students with expectations to open opportunities post-graduation such as dietetic internship matches, graduate studies and more.

Dr. Jasper Xu holds a doctoral degree in statistics from the University of Georgia and a master’s in health administration from UNF. Prior to joining UNF, Dr. Xu worked for Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. where he served as leading biostatistician to support multiple projects across JJVCI Global Product Platforms. In addition, Dr. Xu has been leading a cross-functional project to provide a more robust and compliant data model specification to map clinical data. Dr. Xu also oversees the statistical services from a variety of clinical research organization partners as well as provides on-site training to qualify their services.

Read the full study, “Beyond the Clinical Walls: Registered Dietitian Nutritionists Providing Medical Nutrition Therapy in the Home Setting.”