A Guide to Eating Healthy in Morgantown!


Part of our corporate wellness assignment this week was to create a presentation for the “Lunch and Learn” wellness series for employees at the Davis College of WVU.  Emily and I finally finished our 23-page handout titled, “Eating Healthy While Working On Campus”. The guide includes:

1.) Eat This, Not That – Morgantown Edition

2.) Healthy Vending Machine Choices

3.) Healthy Frozen Meals

To check it out, click the link below!!

Click: Eating Healthy While Working On Campus

Lesson Planning for – “Eating Healthy While Working on Campus”


Throughout the next couple of days, Emily and I will be working on planning our “Lunch and Learn” lesson plan for Friday.  The theme for our hour-long lesson is “Eating Healthy While Working on Campus”, which is geared toward faculty and staff of the Davis College at WVU.  We decided on this theme after investigating our target audience – professors and staff.  It became apparent that many employees at such a large university are under a lot of stress due to a very busy schedule between lecturing, grading, conducting research, authoring publications, and taking care of families of their own.  With such a hectic schedule, it can be difficult to take the time to plan a healthy lunch for work.  Some employees pack a lunch or go to a local fast food restaurant during their break.  Because of this, Emily and I decided to give our audience some tools for eating healthy while working on campus.  We are currently developing a PowerPoint presentation that will discuss healthy lunch options, the “5-20” rule, and how much sugar is in popular soft drinks.

We are also developing an educational tool kit for eating healthy on campus.  This toolkit is going to be a small spiral-bound booklet containing:

  • “Eat this, Not that – Morgantown Edition”:  Based off the popular book,  Eat This, Not That, this guide is going to include several fast food restaurants in the area that are popular during lunch breaks.  For each restaurant there will be the 3 best healthy options to choose, 1 unhealthy option to completely avoid, other helpful tips for eating healthy at that particular restaurant, as well as a healthy letter grade (A, B, or C) for the restaurant.
  • Vending Machine Guide: For both the snack and soft drink vending machines in the Agricultural Sciences building, we developed a “Red, Yellow, and Green light” system for choosing healthy snacks.  Red items should be eaten rarely (or save half for later), yellow items should be eaten sometimes (or save half for later), and green items are the healthiest options.  We are hoping to have these signs hanging up on the wall next to the vending machines so that individuals who did not attend the presentation can also benefit from the information.
  • Best Frozen Food Meals: Because some people do not have time to pack a lunch, it may be easier and more convenient to just heat up a frozen meal in the microwave.  With so many options in the frozen foods section, this handout is meant to make it easier to choose the healthiest options when you’re at the grocery store.  The guide lists several specific frozen meals in the following categories: pasta, pizza, chicken, beef, fish, and others.  For each item the following nutrition facts are also listed: calories, total fat, saturated fat, sodium, fiber, and protein.

I am getting really excited to see how the presentation goes on Friday. As an incentive for people to attend, there is a possibility of raffling off a gift card, pedometer, water bottle, etc…so hopefully we have a good turn out!

Healthy Foods in the Frozen Section


Next week, Emily and I will be presenting the first of six “Lunch and Learn” wellness series, where employees eat their lunch in a classroom while we teach them about various health topics.  The “Lunch and Learn” series is part of a corporate wellness initiative for the employees at the Davis College at WVU.  The objective of the healthy lunch series is to encourage healthy living and healthy eating at work.  There is currently not a very consistent corporate wellness program at the Davis College, so we are working to develop more wellness initiatives for the employees.

The six “Lunch and Learn Series” and some general topic to be discussed are:

  1. Living Well in Morgantown…Eating Well While Working On Campus – This is the lesson Emily and I will be giving next Friday!
    1. What is Wellness
    2. How to pack a healthy lunch
    3. The “5-20” Rule when looking at a nutrition facts label – For fat, sodium, and cholesterol you want sources that contain less than 5% of your DV.  And for carbs, fiber, and vitamins and minerals you want sources that contain 20% or more than your DV.
    4. Pack this, not that
    5. Eat this, not that – Vending machine
    6. Eating at restaurants—pass out dining guide
  2.  Exercising in Morgantown
    1. Gyms in Morgantown – Membership information, locations, etc.
    2. Rail Trail
    3. Walking Map of Downtown/Evansdale Campus – Walking routes, miles, calories burned, etc.
    4. Local Race Information –   5ks, Color Run in Pittsburg, Relay for Life
    5. Sign up for walking buddies?
  3. Stress Management/Sleeping Well
    1. Benefits of getting enough sleep
    2. Tips for sleeping well
    3. How stress can harm your body
    4. Different stress-management technique –  Meditation, yoga
    5. CD of calming music?
  4. Healthy Eating During the Holidays (Oct, Nov, Dec)
    1. Halloween
    2. Thanksgiving
    3. Christmas
    4. New Year’s Eve
  5. Eating for Heart Health (February = Heart Health Month)
    1. Heart Disease Info
    2. Calculate your Risk Factor, Worksheet
    3. “10 Foods for Heart Health”
    4. Behaviors to Avoid
    5. Recipe ideas?
  6. Eat Your Best, Look Your Best
    1. What you eat affects how you look
    2. Hair health- vitamins & minerals
    3. Nail health- vitamins & minerals
    4. Skin health- vitamins & minerals
    5. Importance of drinking water
    6. “10 foods that will make you look your best” handout

In order to promote our lesson, we will be posting flyers around the Agricultural Sciences Building and inviting several of our professors and advisors. Take a look at the flyer I made!

Click:  brown bag lunch series flyer

Because the overall theme of our lesson is “Eating Well While Working On Campus”, the topics we will be discussing are the 5-20% Rule, vending machines, sugary drinks, fast food restaurants, and frozen food entrees.  We have been working on developing a nutrition guide for the vending machines that are located in the Ag Sciences Bldg.  The vending machine guide gives a red, yellow, or green light corresponding to a snack or drink item.  The red, yellow, and green lights are designated based on calorie and fat content. Red items should be consumed never or rarely, yellow items should be consumed sometimes, and green items are always a go!

I have also been developing a handout with a list of healthy frozen food entrees that employees can easily throw in the microwave for lunch.  The handout includes tips and guidelines for choosing healthy frozen foods, the benefits of frozen foods, and separates frozen foods into chicken, beef, fish, pizza, and pasta categories.  The handout is not completely finished yet, but take a look at the rough draft I have so far!

Click:  Frozen Foods For Lunch Handout

Another handout that we are in the process of making is an “Eat This, Not That – Fast Food In Morgantown Edition”.  This handout is going to include several restaurants and fast food places on both Evansdale and Downtown campuses that employees typically go to for their lunch break.  This is going to be a small booklet that participants can flip through to see the top 3 healthiest options and the 1 option they should totally avoid at each location.  The guide is meant to give tips and be a quick reference guide when eating out for a healthy and delicious lunch off campus.

More to come on the “Lunch and Learn” lesson next week as Emily and I develop a PowerPoint presentation as well as the “Eat This, Not That” guide!

Healthy Snacking Lesson


Today was a really fun and chaotic day. This morning Emily and I taught our “Healthy Snacking” lesson to around fifteen 4th graders from The Shack Neighborhood House.  The lesson was taught in the WVU test kitchen (pictured below).  The kids sat in chairs in front of the demonstration table.  The demo table was a great way to teach the kids how to cook because it had an overhead mirror that was angled toward the audience (almost like we had our own cooking show!).  We started off the lesson by introducing ourselves and introducing the lesson as healthy snacks.

The WVU test kitchen has several “mini kitchens”, ovens, stoves, sinks, and cooking equipment.

The “students” sat in chairs in front of the demonstration table.

We first explained the MyPlate image and taught them that half of their plate should contain fruits and vegetables.  We then went through all the food groups of the MyPlate (fruits, veggies, grains, protein, and dairy) and asked if they could think of healthy snacks that belonged in each category.  The next thing we did was write the acronym S.N.A.C.K.S. on the chalkboard to remind them what healthy snacking means.

Smaller portions

Not in front of the TV (the kids were appalled by this!)
Am I really hungry?

Choose low-fat foods from the MyPlate

Kitchen is a good place to eat

Sit down, slow down, savor, and enjoy!

Emily and I teaching the kids about healthy snacks.

The next thing we did was begin to make the delicious salsa (recipe found here).  We showed them the different ingredients and asked if they knew what each of them were.  We asked for a few responsible volunteers to come to the demo table and help us chop up the tomatoes and green peppers.  We had to teach them the appropriate way to hold a knife and the proper way to chop the vegetables.  When all the ingredients were added to the salsa, it looked and tasted absolutely delicious.

I am showing a volunteer how to chop a tomato!

 

The yummy salsa the kids helped to make!

The next thing we did was teach the kids how to make their own chips out of whole grain tortillas.  All the kids had to first wash their hands.  Then they each had the chance to cut their own tortilla into chips, place them on baking sheets, spray cooking spray, and add salt, pepper, and chili powder.

 

Everyone got to cut their own whole-grain tortilla into chips.

 

While the tortilla chips were cooking in the oven, we organized the kids to play a “Guess that fruit or vegetable game”.  We split them into three teams and explained the rules of the game.  We placed 12 large brown bags throughout the room with a flap in the back of the bag.  The kids were unable to look in the bag, but had to take turns putting their hand in the bag and feeling the fruit or veggie.  They had to try to guess the most fruit/veggies correctly strictly by feeling them.  The kids had a lot of fun playing this game.  Some of the food items they guessed fairly sily, but some items really tricked them (like turnips, parsnips, and zucchini).

Finally the last part of the lesson was for the kids to each make their own fruit and cheese skewers.  Everyone got their own skewer and we encouraged them to choose fruits that were very colorful.  They could choose from apples, bananas, grapes, cantaloupe, pineapple, strawberries, and cheddar and mozzarella cheese.  I think this was probably the kids favorite part of the lesson because they got to eat their fruits and veggies right away, and some kids even went for seconds!

The kids had alot of fun making their fruit skewers!

Eating their fruit skewers, chips, and salsa.

Everyone got to take home some salsa to have their families try.

Overall the nutrition lesson went really well! It was a little chaotic controlling all the kids and some of the chips got a little burnt, but I think everyone had fun and learned a lot.  And don’t forget they got to take home a “Healthy Snacking” brochure .

A Day At: The Shack Neighborhood House


It was a very fun day as a dietetic intern. Emily and I had the opportunity to spend the day as camp counselors at The Shack Neighborhood House, a local community youth center.  The Shack targets lower-income families and offers several programs for the community such as after school programs for kids, familly fun nights, tutoring, swimming lessons, Zumba, adult cooking classes, and a day camp for children from kindergarten through 6th grade.  Older kids are considered the “JV” (7th-12th grade) and are able to be camp volunteers.  The Shack has several play rooms, a craft room, a gym, a playground, an inground pool, and outdoor pavilion.

The mission statement of the Shack is: “To provide an inclusive, safe, and fun environment for learning and recreation. Programs strengthen families by nurturing children, youth, and community members of all ages in Monongalia County and the surrounding areas. Through our initiatives, The Shack fosters personal growth and self-confidence, and promotes social responsibility.”

The gym at The Shack.

Kids playing in the pool.

When I arrived in the morning, I was placed with the Kindergarten group consisting of about 10-12 boys and girls.  A typical morning at The Shack’s day camp is split up into three 45-minute activities.  During the first activity, the kindergarten group played outside in the playground. The playground has a jungle gym, slides, swings, sandbox, and seesaw.

Two kindergarteners playing on the seesaw.

During the second part of the morning, we went inside to the play room above the gym.  The play room was full of were dozens of board games, books, toys, cards, and a TV with videos.  I spent my time playing Connect 4 and making puzzles with the kids.

The third part of the morning was probably the most interesting and educational for me personally (coming from a nutrition background).  This is because the older kids at The Shack have been growing an herb garden, or what they call the “Sensory Garden”.

The “Sensory Garden” full of a variety of herbs.

The herb garden full of a variety of different herbs.

The younger kids were given a lesson about the sensory garden. During the lesson the kids learned what the five senses are, what type of herbs are being grown, and naming different fruits and vegetables.  They got to smell many herbs and spices, such as sage and garlic, and identify them based on their scent.  They had the chance to use their senses even more by actually going into the garden and feeling the different textures and smelling the different scents of the various herbs.

The kindergarteners using their sense of sight and scent to test the different herbs growing in the garden.

A boy exploring through the "Sensory Garden".

Each camper got to pick one leaf of basil from the plant and take it back inside where they added their basil to a premade salsa.  The instructor added cheese, black beans, some extra tomatoes, and the basil into the premade salsa to make a delicious dip.  Everyone then got to taste-test the creation and surprisingly a lot of the kids liked it (even the black beans!).

After tasting the salsa, it was then time for lunch.  At The Shack, all campers receive a hot lunch made by Shack employees in their small kitchen.  On the menu today was grilled cheese on wheat bread, french fries, pineapple slices, and low-fat chocolate milk.   I learned that a standard lunch must consist of a minimum of a 3/4 cup of fruits and vegetables.  I also learned the government is increasing the requirement for fruits and vegetables to 1.5 cups in public schools and placing an emphasis on whole grains (which is great).  However, I was surprised when most of the kids left a lot of the food on their plate.  I later found out the reason is because there is a concession stand that opens in the afternoon by the pool.  The concession stand is stocked-full of unhealthy snacks such as pizza, candy, soda, and ice cream.  Therefore, most of the kids seemed to rely on the unhealthy food at the concession stand instead of what they received for lunch.

The lunch menu for the entire month of June.

The purpose of spending the day at The Shack was to investigate the target audience for a nutrition lesson we will be giving to about 20 of the kids next week.  We wanted to see what the needs of the community were, what The Shack was actually like, to meet the kids, and to come up with ideas for the lesson. I had a really good time being a camp counselor for the day and playing with all the kids. I can’t wait to teach them our lesson on “Healthy Snacking” next week!

“Healthy Snacking” Brochure


I continued to work on the “Healthy Snacking” lesson that Emily and I will be teaching next week to about twenty 3rd and 4th graders from The Shack.  My main focus for the day was creating a handout or pamphlet for the children to take home and share with their parents.  The information I included in the handout is the recipes for the salsa and tortilla chips that the kids will be learning how to make during the lesson, healthy vs non-healthy snacking ideas, the benefits of choosing whole grain products, and the acronym for S.N.A.C.K.S.

S.N.A.C.K.S. stands for:

Smaller portions

Not in front of the TV

Am I really hungry?

Choose low-fat foods from MyPlate for snacks

Kitchen is a good place to eat

Sit down, slow down, savor, and enjoy!

Check out my “Healthy Snacking” Brochure . Let me know what you think!

Choosing Healthy Recipes for Community Nutrition Programs


Today Emily Todhunter and I continued to work on the community nutrition program at The Shack, which would be funded by a possible grant from Build A Bear.  The theme of the program is “Shop Smart, Cook Healthy, Eat Right”.  The “Cook Healthy” portion is going to consist of  cooking demonstration where children and parents can take part in cooking a healthy meal.  The recipes we chose for the cooking demo are chili con carne and baked potatoes for the adults and granola bars for the kids.  The theories behind choosing these dishes is that they are nutritious, easy to make, inexpensive, and last for a long time.  The program would include ingredients that were discussed during the first lesson, “Shop Smart”, which would be a grocery store tour.

We also worked on a targeted community nutrition activity for 3rd and 4th graders to be taught next week to around 20 children from The Shack.  This 90-minute lesson would be on “Healthy Snacking”.  During the lesson students will learn to make homemade salsa, whole-wheat chips, and fruit and cheese skewers.  The students will also play an “identify that fruit or vegetable game” in two teams. Kids will put their hands in the box/bag, try to figure out what fruit or vegetable is in there, and then run back to their team, where they will tell their team what they found, and write what they found (but doesn’t tell the other team!).  The team that figures out all the items correctly first, wins a prize.  The nutrition lesson will focus on balancing your snacks based on the MyPlate recommendations and how to choose a healthy snack.

Below are the recipes for the granola bars, chili con carne, and the salsa and tortilla chips.

Homemade Granola Bar Recipe

Ingredients for the granola bars. I can’t wait to try this recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. honey or corn syrup (or a combination of both)
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter
  • 2 c. quick oats
  • 2 c. Rice Krispy cereal
  • 1/4 c. ground flax seed
  • 1 or 2 T. wheat germ (optional)
  • 1 c. total of your favorite mix-ins (chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, etc)

Directions:

  • In a small sauce pan, mix honey (or corn syrup) and brown sugar.
  • Cook over medium-high heat until sugar is completely dissolved – stirring constantly.
  • Remove from heat and quickly stir in peanut butter.
  • Mix the oats, cereal, flax seed, and optional wheat germ in a large bowl.
  • Pour honey mixture over dry ingredients — mix well.
  • Stir in chocolate chips, nuts, fruit, and any other “mix-ins”
  • Press mixture into a 9″ x 13″ pan that has been greased or lined with wax paper. {I find it works best when I put another piece of wax paper on top of the bars and press down with a measuring cup.}
  • Let cool and “firm up”
  • Cut into bars and store in an air-tight container. I cut mine into 24 bars that were about 1″ x 4″ {8 rows by 3 rows}. I used a pastry cutter/scraper because it cuts really straight lines — but a long knife would work just fine too.
  • And since I used chocolate chips, I figured it would be best to store our granola bars in the refrigerator so they don’t melt.

Source: http://www.simpleorganizedliving.com/2011/08/01/homemade-granola-bars-the-winning-recipe/

Chili Con Carne Recipe

Pictured: Chili Con Carne. To be served with baked potatoes. Healthy toppings for baked potatoes include: salsa, reduced-fat sour cream, greek yogurt, green onions, reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese, broccoli, sauteed mushrooms, red pepper flakes, chives…or just pour the chili on top!

Yield: 3 gal, Serving size: 1 cup

  • 10 lb Ground beef
  • 8 oz onions, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • Cook beef, onions, and garlic in a large pot until meat loses pink color
  • 2.5 qt diced tomatoes, canned
  • 2 qt tomato puree
  • 1 qt water
  • 3 oz chile powder
  • 1.5 Tbsp cumin, ground
  • 1 oz (1.5 Tbsp) salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 oz sugar, granulated
    • Mix tomato products, water, and seasonings. Add to beef. Cook until blended.
  • 9.5 lbs beans, pinto, kidney, or red, canned
    • Add beans to meat mixture. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add water if chili becomes too thick.

Source:  Food for Fifty (12th Edition) by Mary Molt

Tomato Salsa Recipe

Homemade tomato salsa with whole wheat tortilla chips is a healthy snack for children of all ages!

Makes 11 servings

  • 3 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped (3 cups)
  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 8 medium green onions, sliced (1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno chili
  • 2-3 tablespoons lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Mix ingredients in a bowl.

Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Tomato   Salsa Nutrition Facts 1   serving = ¼ cup
Calories 20
Total Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 125 mg
Total Carbohydrate 4 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Protein 1 g
Vitamin A 10% DV
Vitamin C 34% DV
Iron 2% DV

Source:  http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/homemade-tomato-salsa/6f57f14c-1284-44e1-97e5-224e0056ed71

Whole Wheat Tortilla Chips Recipe

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Cut whole wheat tortillas into wedges or strips.
  • Spray both sides of tortilla pieces with cooking spray.
  • Spread the pieces out on a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Season with spices—pepper, ranch dressing mix, chili powder, garlic powder, etc!
  • Bake until golden brown & crisp, about 12-15 minutes.

Curriculum Development of a Nutrition Course


On Friday my new project was to develop a new nutrition course to be offered at WVU.  Emily and brainstormed ideas and decided to create an online class called “HNF 251 – Discernment of Nutrition Claims In the Media”.  Emily had taken a similar course at the University of Nebraska, and we thought it would be a very popular course because there is no class like it offered at WVU.  The overall description of  the course is the application of educated judgment to accept or reject the claims made by individuals who present themselves as “experts” in health and nutrition, exercise methods, nutritional supplements, and fact verses fiction in lifetime weight management.

The exciting part about developing this new course is that there is potential for it to be turned into an actual live class to be offered next spring or summer.  I do not have much experience with curriculum development, so this was a bit challenging at first.  The more I worked on developing the class, however, the more I really enjoyed the idea of maybe teaching a college class one day.  The groundwork for developing any course curriculum is to begin with the syllabus and the course objectives. The course objectives are the heart of what the student will learn and be able to do at the conclusion of taking this class.  To develop the 10 different course objectives, I began by thinking to myself “What key ideas and skills do I want the student to learn in this class?”.

Course Objectives – Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Use scientific research to evaluate nutritional claims.
  2. Evaluate and recognize expert and peer-reviewed sources verses unreliable or questionable sources of health and nutrition resources in the media.
  3. Navigate and be familiar with using a variety of media outlets.
  4. Gain knowledge about current and contemporary nutrition hot topics, issues, and controversies.
  5. Discuss conflicting viewpoints about controversial issues in nutrition and foods.
  6. Have a better understanding of information literacy and how they can apply it in their professional career.
  7. Demonstrate exemplary writing and communication skills.
  8. Demonstrate their health knowledge and individual interests by regularly posting and updating in an online nutritional blog.
  9. Explain and defend a valid nutritional viewpoint with evidence-based support.
  10. Independently use the WVU Health Sciences Center and Evansdale Library to access reliable sources of nutrition information.

The different assignments that would be required for the course would be weekly online quizzes, maintenance of an online nutrition blog, a literature review paper on a controversial nutrition topic, and various homework assignments.  Hopefully as Emily and I continue to work on the curriculum of this course, it becomes more refined and developed so it could potentially be a successful course at WVU.

PAWsome lesson plans :)


Today I continued to work on and refine the SDA binder.  I included a calendar of events for the year, instructions for volunteer opportunities, and ideas for different social events.  The most fun part of my day  (revealing my inner nutrition-nerd) was surfing the Health EdCo company website.  Health EdCo is a company that distributes unique and innovative health education materials and products such as 5 lb fat models, food serving size models, nutrition and physical activity posters and games, BMI calculators, etc.  I had to create a “wish list” for the specific educational tools to order from this company that could be incorporated into a community dietitian’s lesson plans.

Another assignment I had today was learning about the grant writing process. Because I am extremely interested in teaching in higher education, I know that learning how to apply for grants is extremely important.  The specific grant I was working on was through Build-a-Bear Workshop (which I love!). The grant sponsors “PAWsome” causes that benefit children’s health and wellness programs.  Emily, my roommate and fellow dietetic intern, and myself were in charge of brainstorming ideas for programs and lessons that could be benefited at The Shack Neighborhood House.  The Shack is a wonderful resource that provides many fun opportunities for children and families of low-income around the Morgantown area.

The idea we brainstormed is based on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Kids Eat Right website and campaign.  The main take home message of the Kids Eat Right campaign is to “Shop Smart, Cook Healthy, Eat Right”.  To incorporate this message into creating a program for the Shack (to hopefully be funded by the Build-A-Bear grant), we created a three-part nutrition literacy program.  The “Shop Smart” component would consist of a tour of a local grocery tour, where participants would learn where to find healthy food in the grocery store and how to read food labels.  The “Cook Healthy” part would be a healthy cooking demonstration where the participants can learn skills to create a healthy meal for their family.  And the final “Eat Right” portion would be a larger community dinner that would promote social interactions, conscious eating, and eating meals as a family.

Weight of the Nation…a basis for Community Nutrition


I have never kept a blog before, and since this is my first post  bear with me while I venture onto this new aspect of the social media scene! I hope that this blog helps individuals who are curious about health, nutrition, and the current and hot issues in the dietetics field.

This has been the first two days of my Dietetic Internship (!!) and over the next few weeks I am partaking in a Community Nutrition rotation through The Shack and WVU.  Many individuals may be unsure as to what exactly a community dietitian does (as I once was), and I think the best way to explain the basis for this career path is to watch the HBO special, “Weight of the Nation“.  This four-part documentary focuses on America’s obesity epidemic is based on sound scientific research through the Institute of Medicine (IOM), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  The obesity epidemic is a very serious and complex problem that I think it is explained very concisely in this obesity infographic.  Through this research and further knowledge, the IOM published recommendations as to how to prevent obesity.  The recommendations are very specific and in-depth, but there are five main points in the prevention of obesity:

  • Integrate physical activity every day in every way
  • Market what matters for a healthy life
  • Make healthy foods and beverages available everywhere
  • Activate employers and health care professionals
  • Strengthen schools as the heart of health

So now that we have all these recommendations, what can WE do to solve the problem? That is where dietitians and other members of the community come in.  Earlier today I attended a meeting for the “Choose to Change” project that is federally funded for obesity prevention in Monongalia and Kanawha counties in West Virginia.  The meeting focused on ways to create a healthier community in both counties.  Professionals from various sectors attended the meeting including WVU professors and interns, WIC dietitians, Mon County school representatives, farmer’s markets directors, public health students, personal trainers, chefs, and exercise scientists. This type of collaboration amongst many different fields and individuals is key to creating a healthier atmosphere and attacking the obesity epidemic from every angle.