27 August 2018

Dietary intervention for people with mental illness in South Australia

This research involved a pilot feasibility study with residents of a Community Rehabilitation Centre in South Australia aimed at improving participants' diets according to Mediterranean diet principles. The three month intervention involved nutrition education, food hampers, twice-weekly cooking workshops and guided shopping trips for participants. The evaluation of the intervention found that it achieved positive change in dietary behaviours associated with cardio-vascular disease (CVD) risk for participants. There were improvements in participants' knowledge of, and intake of the key elements of a Mediterranean-style diet (fruit and vegetables, olive oil, fish, legumes), reduction in poor nutrition habits (soft drinks, energy drinks, take away meals) and development of independent living skills-culinary skills such as food preparation and cooking based on simple recipes, food shopping and budgeting, healthy meal planning and social interaction. These changes were supported by dietary biomarkers, and were associated with reduced CVD risk factors.