Posted on 12/06/2010 at 04:49:55 PM by Student BloggerBy: Tricia Psota, PhD
What does one think when asked to do an interview for an internet radio show as a representative of ASN? “Sure! What a great opportunity!” And then after a few minutes you start to wonder, “What are we going to talk about? The field of nutrition is vast – how do you cover all the important topics in just one hour? How do I respond to questions outside of my specialty yet remain the nutrition ‘expert'? And, what is an internet radio show anyways?” Although I was full of anticipation prior to the interview, reflecting on the experience brings great satisfaction. Below I detail my lessons learned, the topics discussed on the show, and tips for conducting interviews for other young professionals in our field.
1. Preparation is key. In the week prior to the live interview, the host conducted a pre-interview with me during which she asked numerous questions – many of which were never addressed on-air. The primary reason was that I felt it was best to focus on evidence-based dietary recommendations. Although fad diets and the “latest, greatest” food products and supplements are often catchier topics, the host supported my stance in providing nutrition advice based on scientific research. Following the pre-interview, I requested a summary of planned topics to be discussed on the live show to confirm that we had the same expectations.
2. Expect the unexpected. Even though we had a list of questions and discussion points, the conversation went off-topic a few times; also, the host did ask a few unanticipated questions. With each unanticipated question, I took a few seconds to think and then relied on all my nutrition knowledge acquired through undergraduate and graduate coursework, the research experiences of graduate school, the training associated with a dietetic internship, and from years of reading scientific journals.
3. Know your message. Research consistently indicates that people have misperceptions related to nutrition information. Therefore, I felt it was very important to provide dietary guidance in simple language, make a variety of suggestions for following the Dietary Guidelines, repeat key recommendations, and give as many examples as possible. Since the audience was diverse, I tried to provide information pertinent for all ages and states of health.
4. Most of all, have fun! Not only do people struggle to understand nutrition information, implementing the behavior changes necessary to follow a healthy diet – and a healthier lifestyle in general – is challenging. Being knowledgeable about key dietary recommendations is important; however, it is imperative to also provide motivation for change and to remain positive about the beneficial health outcomes associated with healthier eating patterns.
When listening back to the radio show, I realized that the hot topics in nutrition are similar over the years. The macronutrient breakdown of the diet is often of interest – at one time people were trying numerous low-fat products, then high-protein/low-carbohydrate diets were the craze, and more recently consumers are focusing on the specific types of fatty acids in our diet. Also, people often ask whether different supplements are warranted and if so, for whom. As the Dietary Guidelines and the foods and supplements available on the market evolve over the years, it is important that as a community of nutrition experts we provide consistent messages that are based on the vast and robust research of our field.
To listen to Dr. Psota's interview, click here.