Dietary Interviews and Survey of Habits in Parkinson Disease: the Dish Mixed Methods Study
Background: The pathophysiology of Parkinson disease (PD) may influence the ability of a person living with PD (PwP) to perform food-related activities (FRA) such as meal planning, food procurement, food preparation, eating and drinking. Their abilities may be further impacted by other internal and external factors, including the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.Purpose: The purpose of this mixed methods study was to explore personal, behavioral, and environmental factors that are associated with the ability of people living with PD (PwPs) to perform FRA as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their overall dietary patterns. Methods: Using a convergent parallel design, PwPs and their care-partners completed virtual dyadic qualitative interviews about their experiences with FRA during the COVID-19 pandemic. Semi-structured interviews were guided by the Social Cognitive Theory. PwPs completed a Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) to quantify their dietary intake in the previous 12 months. Sociodemographic data, medical history, and symptom severity were also assessed among PwPs. Qualitative data were analyzed independently by two coders using both inductive and deductive techniques. Quantitative data from the FFQ were descriptively analyzed and utilized to calculate diet scores. Results: Eleven dyadic interviews were conducted to uncover the following subthemes by the personal, environmental, and behavioral levels of the SCT: perception of a healthy diet, perception of how nutrition influences PD symptoms and progression, confidence in following a healthy diet, barriers & perceived challenges to performing FRA, previous sources of nutrition information, willingness to changing their diet with a Registered Dietitian, modifications to FRA due to food-medication interactions, and skills necessary to maintain a healthy diet. Participants experienced changes in their typical FRA and routines due to COVID-19. Specifically, they cooked more at home, consumed fewer meals with non-household members, and altered their grocery shopping habits. These changes often led to an increase in the care-partners’ responsibilities and overall burden. The average diet scores among PwPs were 73.0+6.3 for the Healthy Eating Index 2015 (scale of 0-100), 29.2+6.6 for the Mediterranean diet (scale of 0-55), and 10.4+1.8 for the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet (scale 0-15). Conclusions/Implications: Although diet scores indicated healthy dietary patterns among PwPs, findings from this study highlight the need for tailored nutrition education for PwPs and care-partners, and the results provide talking points for healthcare providers to address with their PD patients. Results also point to the need for future nutrition intervention research to inform evidence-based guidelines for this patient population. Interviews with PwPs and their care-partners revealed the need for healthcare providers and researchers to address increases in caregiver burden that resulted from changes in FRA due to the COVID-19 pandemic.