Perspectives Online

Article earns award, documentary coverage for Partners in Wellness

Are older adults aware of what can potentially happen when one mixes herbal supplements, vitamins and prescription medications? Are they checking with their physicians or pharmacists about the increasing number of supplements, vitamins and medications they are taking? Can older adults be encouraged to read supplement and drug labels? Critical issues like these are addressed in a family and consumer sciences' nutrition education module that was the subject of a cable television documentary and the focus of an award-winning research article documenting intervention effectiveness.

The journal article, "Nutrition Education Among Low-Income Older Adults: A Randomized Intervention Trial in Congregate Nutrition Sites," described statistically significant behavior change among a group of limited resource older adults who participated in a five-session module on dietary supplements from the Partners in Wellness (PIW) Program. As compared to participants receiving a different PIW module (the controls), those in the "treatment" group were more likely to increase multivitamin and calcium supplement use, read dietary supplement labels before purchasing or using them, carry a supplement/medication list and discuss their use of these products with their health care professional - all of which were intended outcomes of the educational intervention.

The article prompted the Retirement Living cable channel to develop a documentary about the highly successful PIW program, which includes 13 other modules, each designed to reduce specific risk factors for poor health in older adults. In September, a team came to Moore County to film the delivery of a session of the PIW "treatment" module, "Pills, Potions, and Powders," by family and consumer sciences agent Agnes Moore. It aired on Northeast U.S. cable channels.

In addition, the journal article was named "Lawrence W. Green Paper of the Year" by the journal Health Education and Behavior, which published the paper.

The authors of the article represent two colleges and three departments. Dr. Jackie McClelland, 4-H Youth Development and Family and Consumer Sciences, and Dr. Sarah Ash, Food Science, are in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Dr. Roger Mitchell of Psychology is in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

- Natalie Hampton