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Nutrition Education and Counseling (Nutrition 420) is a senior-level nutrition course for students to develop and demonstrate counseling skills, education methods, and communication strategies for effective health behavior change. As part of the City and Region initiative, the course focused on cultural diversity and health disparities in a senior population of Philadelphia.

Students conducted nutrition counseling and education sessions with seniors who were of Asian, African, and Eastern European decent at the Nationalities Senior Center in Philadelphia. The instructor divided the class into groups of three and used a public-health approach from Senior and Cultural Food Pyramid Models to provide education on hydration, fruits and vegetables, protein/Vitamin B12, fiber, Vitamin D, and exercise/movement. Students constructed stations that highlighted each topic in pictures and illustrations because many of the clients were non-English-speaking or spoke English as a second language. Each student met one-on-one with a senior while the group observed the interaction. A translator helped with some clients which was a unique challenge in communication. The instructor observed each students’ skill and helped the counseling process as needed. Students used cultural food pyramids in clients’ native languages to supplement nutrition education. A food station demonstrated cultural foods with nutrient content pertaining to counseling topics and provided Clementine oranges as a thank you to participating seniors.