Lifestyle Medicine

Clinical Practice (assessment, diagnosis, treatment, knowledge translation/EBP, implementation science, program development)


HOT TOPIC: The Emerging Field of Culinary Medicine (409704)

Monday, October 1
4:45 PM - 6:00 PM
Location: Morocco

Obesity and unhealthy nutrition are major public health and economic threats and disproportionately high among adults with disabilities. Recent research demonstrated positive correlations between frequency of home cooking and consumption of healthy food choices, weight status, and body fat. However, a survey from 2007-2008 evaluating trends in US home food preparation found a decrease in cooking activities. Thus, experts are suggesting that nutritional education should augment a primary focus on nutrients with food-oriented education, emphasizing skills such as shopping, food storage, meal planning and preparation. Culinary Medicine (CM) is a growing field, which aims to address this gap. It was recently defined as “a new evidence-based field in medicine that blends the art of food and cooking with the science of medicine”.

Culinary Medicine for patients:
Culinary Medicine interventions that aim to improve patients’ nutrition through home cooking are expanding. Recent interventions were found to improve short-term attitudes regarding healthy cooking, confidence in cooking, healthy food consumption, and health outcomes. CM interventions in rehabilitation are also emerging, and were found to improve culinary knowledge, home cooking frequency, and eating behavior of both patients and caregivers.

Culinary Medicine for clinicians:
Culinary education is emerging in medical education too. The majority of the nutritional content currently taught in medical education is related to biochemistry, not practical, food-related knowledge and skills that may positively impact eating behaviors. This gap manifests in the attitudes of residents, fellows and other practicing clinicians who lack confidence and knowledge to effectively prescribe nutrition., CM programs are an effective way to bridge this gap, by addressing food-based knowledge and skills. Preliminary results from such programs have documented improvement in both the providers’ personal and professional nutrition related behaviors, including their perceived ability to advise patients with metabolic risk factors.

Culinary Medicine symposia:
The proposed symposia will present this innovative nutritional education approach to the ACRM community, together with a summary of the most updated CM research, examples of current CM programs, and tools for the clinics. The symposia will also include a short cooking demonstration that will present tools to address common barriers to home cooking such as lack of skills and limited time.

Learning Objectives:

Ran Polak

Founding Director, CHEF Coaching program
Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital

Dr. Rani Polak is the founding director of both the Culinary Healthcare Education Fundamentals (CHEF) Coaching program at the Institute of Lifestyle Medicine, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and the Center of Lifestyle Medicine at Sheba Medical Center, as well as a Research Associate at the Department of PM & R, Harvard Medical School. Prior to this position he completed a Research Fellowship in Lifestyle Medicine at Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School, and a residency in Family Medicine at the Hebrew University Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel. Rani had the good fortune to be the founder of the Hadassah Healthy Cooking and Lifestyle Center and the Israeli Society of Lifestyle Medicine. His first lifestyle intervention won the Hebrew University’s Kaye Award Prize for innovation and his book, Delicious Diabetic Recipes, is a gold best seller.
Dr. Polak’s focus, along with clinical care, is on nutrition education, and on clinical and translational research relating to culinary medicine and medical education. His current work is concentrated on the Culinary Coaching approach, which aims to improve nutrition through culinary training combined with health coaching principles. This approach was used through: 1) Patients CHEF Coaching telemedicine program, aimed at improving eating behavior of patients with cardio-metabolic risk factors. This was implemented at HomeBase, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and at dozens of practices nationwide, and 2) Clinician CHEF Coaching tele-training program, aimed at training clinicians in how to provide effective Culinary Healthcare Education. This was implemented in the Yale Preventive Medicine/Internal Medicine residency program and was recently approved by Harvard Medical School for Continuing Medical Education credits. Dr. Polak’s work has been featured in many media outlets including Scientific American, Herald Tribute, Jerusalem Post, and USA Today.


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HOT TOPIC: The Emerging Field of Culinary Medicine (409704)


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