Experiential Learning Group on Nutrigenomics wins Campus Collaboration Award

Last month, the HEAL’s student experiential learning group for the Nutrigenomics, Overweight/Obesity and Weight Management (NOW) Trial received the Campus Collaboration Award through Brescia University College. HEAL researcher and PhD candidate, Justine Horne, has been working alongside Catherine Brown (Registered Dietitian), Dr. Janet Madill, Dr. Jason Gilliland and the NOW executive committee to lead this group since April 2017.

The NOW Experiential Learning Group provides opportunities for students to learn hands-on skills in both nutrition & dietetics and nutrigenomics – a science exploring interactions between the foods/beverages/nutrients we consume, individual genetic variation, and subsequent health outcomes. Over 50 students from the food and nutrition program at Brescia (many of whom aspire to become dietitians) have been involved in this group over the past two years. These students have been given a variety of hands-on experiences, while working alongside Justine and Catherine who are both registered dietitians. Students are involved in collecting food intake data by completing food records with study participants, completing nutrition analyses, assessing body composition using bioelectrical impedence analysis, calculating metabolic equivalents for physical activity data, and observing dietitian-led nutrition sessions for study participants.

Overall, the NOW Experiential Learning Group aims to provide students with opportunities to apply their in-class learning, outside of the classroom while assisting with research at Western. Students’ involvement in the NOW Experiential Learning Group will contribute to determining the results of the NOW Trial, which aims to determine if the provision of genetic-based lifestyle information is superior to population-based lifestyle information for improving body composition, weight, dietary intake and physical activity.

The complete study design for this randomized controlled trial was recently published in BMC Public Health: https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-019-6621-8.

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