Content » Vol 49, Issue 2

Special report

Time for food - training physiatrists in nutritional prescription

Rani Polak , Marie Dacey, Edward M. Phillips
Department of Physical Medicine Rehabilitation, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 02129 Boston, USA. E-mail:
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-2178


Introduction: Sub-optimal nutrition is a leading factor in all-cause mortality, the preponderance of non-communicable chronic diseases, and various health conditions that are treated by physiatrists, such as stroke and musculoske-letal disorders. Furthermore, patients with chronic pain have a high prevalence of nutritional deficiencies, and malnutrition has been associated with limited rehabilitation outcomes in elderly patients with hospital-associated deconditioning. Thus, physiatrists may find it valuable to include nutrition in their patient services. However, discussion of nutritional counselling in the physiatry literature is rare.
Objective: To inform physiatrists about including nutritional counselling as part of the treatment they provide.
Methods: The paper reviews recommended communication skills, behavioural change strategies, and opportunities for inter-professional collaboration. Further resources to educate physiatrists both in nutritional prescription and in improving their own personal health behaviours are provided.
Conclusion: Training physiatrists to address nutrition is a step-wise process, described here.

Lay Abstract


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