Traditionally, nutrition programs were targeted to the indigent and poor populations in developing countries. Many of today’s Americans are malnourished also, but they are inundated with unhealthy foods and require a multidisciplinary approach to nutrition education. What would be the three most important points to include in a public nutrition program? Provide current literature to support your answer and include two nutritional education community resources.
Although we already know it is essential to eat a healthy diet, we may find it more challenging to sort through all of the information about nutrition and food choices. Nutrition is the provision to cells and organisms of the materials necessary (in the form of food) to support life. Healthy eating helps prevent high cholesterol and high blood pressure and helps reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. Many people today in America are malnourished and it is mostly due to indulging in unhealthy/poor dietary intake. These problems can be controlled by utilizing a multidisciplinary approach to public education.
The doctors, social workers, nurses, dieticians and other health educators involved in health promotion should all have a part in ensuring and promoting healthy dietary intake with appropriate food portions and increasing physical activity. The three most important points to include in a public nutrition program are (a) the relationship between food choices and chronic disease such as high blood pressure (high salt intake), high lipids (high fat intake), obesity/diabetes (high sugar/carb intake/low activity) and much more.
Educating the public on how to use natural herbs/ seasonings, or salt substitute, reading labels for nutritional contents and ingredients and eating low carb food are all vital factors to know. It is also very important to increase your physical activity daily. Another important point to include is (b) the nutritional assessment. Individuals need to be assessed for their nutritional status and risk. This will help to “tailor the food packages, design appropriate nutritional education and make referrals to health and social services” (USDA, 2015). The next would be the nutrition for mothers and children in regards to lactation counselling and school lunch programs. Newborn maternal nursing along with children’s’ nutrition is also a very important point to address. There are a lot of mother/baby classes in the community to help promote breastfeeding, infant meals, and children lunch box ideas.
Schools are also in a unique position to promote healthy eating and help ensure appropriate food and nutrient intake among students. There are many nutritional education community resources that helps families in America to improve their nutritional status. They are (A) MyPlate Program: This was created by Michelle Obama in 2011 to serve as a reminder for people to create/make healthier food choices. It put emphasis on eating lots of fruits, grains, vegetables, protein foods and dietary foods. (B) The woman, infant and children program (WIC): This program assist pregnant women, new moms and young children obtain and eat healthy foods. Qualified individuals can only purchase healthy food items. Nutritional education is also provided for qualified individuals at no cost to them.
MyPlate, 2015. Retrieved from: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/myplate
WIC Program Nutrition Education Guidance, 2006.
Retrieved from: http://www.nal.usda.gov/wicworks/learning_Center/ntredguidance.pdf
Edelman, C.L., Kudzman, E, C., Mandel, C. L., (2014). Health promotion throughout the Lifespan. St. Louis: Elsevier.