Author Biographical Information

Alessandra Sarcona, EdD, RDN; Associate Professor of Nutrition, West Chester University of Pennsylvania Dara Dirhan, EdD, MPH, RDN, LDN; Associate Professor of Nutrition, West Chester University of Pennsylvania


Intuitive eating (IE), an evidence-based, weight-inclusive, hunger-based, and mind-body health approach, is critical for dietitians to know and practice when working with clients to manage their health. Yet, many dietitians are not familiar with the practice of IE, stemming from a lack of training in their dietetics curriculum. The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to investigate the outcomes of creating pedagogical activities incorporating IE education into a senior-level Professional Skills in Dietetics course (Intervention Group [IG]) on students’ eating behaviors, body esteem, and self-efficacy to provide effective nutrition counseling and compare it to junior-level dietetics students in a course not receiving the IE education (Control Group [CG]). Sixty-seven students completed the pre-and post-survey including the Intuitive Eating Scale-2 and Body-Esteem Scale for Adolescents and Adults. Students in the IG showed significant improvements in IE scores pre-to post-course, and there was a significant difference in IE post scores between IG and CG; however, the post-pre-IG versus post-pre-CG scores for IE and body esteem showed no significance. High IE scores among IG were associated with higher levels of body esteem, and no correlation was found within the CG. This study also noted the IG embraced IE principles, which led them to have a more positive relationship with food and increased their self-efficacy to be more effective nutrition counselors. Dietetics programs have a unique opportunity to include the topic of IE in any number of existing courses in the dietetics curriculum. As such, teaching about IE in the undergraduate dietetics curriculum and providing community-engaged learning for students to apply this skill prepares students to be effective nutrition counselors as future dietitians.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.