Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type



College of Natural and Health Sciences

Primary Advisor

Dr. Megan Wagner


It is well known that good nutrition is effective in promoting optimal health and in preventing and treating disease. However, it is unclear whether this understanding is successfully being reflected in the treatment that patients are receiving from their healthcare providers in the United States. This study surveyed adult patients about their experiences in the American healthcare system regarding the treatment they’ve received from various providers, as well as their perspectives on the role of nutritional interventions in healthcare. The sample included 23 adults reporting one or more chronic illnesses and 19 adults never diagnosed with chronic illness. Medical treatment reportedly included prescription of medication more often than nutritional interventions from every type of healthcare provider and most medical specialties consulted, with larger gaps in some specialties than others. Study participants unanimously affirmed the importance of good nutrition in many aspects. However, study participants reporting chronic health conditions were in even stronger agreement than non-chronic patients in affirming the importance of making good nutrition a lifestyle, feeling they understood how to do so, and desiring that nutritional advice be given in healthcare settings. The responses of the sample surveyed suggest that nutritional interventions are not yet as prevalent as research suggests they should be, nor as prevalent as patients desire them to be, especially chronic disease patients. Similar further research should control for demographic variables, study larger populations, isolate specific chronic diseases, and include input from healthcare providers.

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Public Health Commons