By Linh Nguyen
In today’s information age, most of us love to create, send, receive, and consume information. Information is ubiquitous. Dietitians and nutritionists have quite a big challenge in ensuring clients and patients are accurately informed with the latest evidence-based nutrition information, at the same time dispelling the nutrition misinformation portrayed through the media, online, in commercials, and in social media. The tool that dietitians and nutritionists can use to help set the record straight is nutrition informatics. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics define nutrition informatics as “the intersection of information, nutrition and technology.” It is beneficial when dietitians use a variety of technological skills to convey current, evidence-based nutrition science to reach targeted populations.
Podcasts are a great platform to provide nutrition information at almost no cost in a short amount of time to a large amount of listeners. According to Wikipedia, podcasts were once known as “audioblogging” and was started in the 1980s, but really became common in late 2004. Podcasts serve purposes of entertainment, education, relaying the news, playing music, among many others. Personally, I like listening to podcasts that educate and entertain simultaneously.
Creating a podcast about nutrition was a fun assignment for me during this dietetic internship. I realized that speaking to an audience from a rehearsed script is easier than speaking in real-time in front of an audience. While creating a podcast script, I enjoy that I can interject my thoughts while providing tips on creating healthy habits in an informal, conversational manner. Ultimately, the goal is to provide useful information that can be used by people to improve their diet and health. Podcasts are a fun and easy platform for dietitians to talk to a wide audience about a specific nutrition topic.
The next step for me is to create more podcasts. I think creating podcast episodes that follow the same nutrition topic over a series can be a great addition to any dietitian’s toolkit. By creating short podcasts that follow the same nutrition theme or topic, the listener can receive small amounts of nutrition education and information over a long period of time. This strategy helps to reinforce information and keep the listener engaged and interested in nutrition. I enjoyed creating a podcast on creating healthy habits. I believe that this topic can be expanded upon. Some possible follow-up topics include delving into the different types of habits that can be created, how to keep trying to create the habits, and covering how a person can assess and monitor their habits. Each episode of the healthy habits series can illustrate a short story or example, tips and strategies, and/or include emerging research and science.
I have considered many other topics for future podcast series. I believe these have the potential to be engaging, entertaining, and make a beneficial change in the listener’s diet and lifestyle. Some of my topic ideas are protein intake, cooking methods, grocery shopping tips, reading nutrition labels, and meal planning. Each podcast episode can focus on a strategy, fact, and tip that the audience can practically apply into their daily lives. Podcasts can really speak to people that learn by hearing. Another benefit of podcasts is that the recording can be paused, replayed, and listened to repeatedly. Podcasts can also be listened to at each person’s convenience.
Interviews with prominent researchers, dietitians, influential media personalities, politicians, and other guest speakers can attract a specific audience as well as a wide-ranging audience. Another thing I have learned in my internship is that it is important to consider your target audience and your brand when you select topics and invite guest speakers. You always want to provide information that is credible, meaningful for your audience, and true to your brand. Guest speakers can infuse a fun and engaging energy that your listeners may enjoy which, hopefully, will resonate with them. While it could be tempting for people to speak their mind and opinions about nutrition, it is important to always base the podcast content on evidence-based, practical approaches that the listeners can use in their lives. A dietitian can foster a relationship and build community with their audience through podcasts.