March is National Nutrition Month

by Howard Gerber on March 11, 2011

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Good nutrition is one of the most important factors in maintaining good health and in helping children be more effective in an educational setting. Because of this, it is important that health and education professionals use this month to stress the importance of eating healthy and the ways good nutrition can benefit your patients or students. Remember that simply being told that one should eat “better” is not helpful enough. Many people who make poor dietary choices do so because of a lack of experience with healthy foods, lack of knowledge in regards to preparation methods, or because they feel their food and activity choices are limited due to economic restraints. By offering community specific information and resources, you can give everyone you come into contact with the tools they need to make healthier choices.

Physical Therapists

National Nutrition Month focuses quite a bit about the importance of making good food choices, but there is also a physical activity component. Use this month to stress the need for regular aerobic activity and the benefits of beginning a stretching regimen to reduce the risk of future injuries. Remind patients that, even after their physical therapy has been completed, they will still benefit from continued physical activity.

Nurses

No matter what field of medicine you are currently in, as a nurse, you are in a unique position to help stress the importance of good nutrition. All patients can benefit from choosing their foods more wisely. Encourage your facility to create brochures that include nutritional information as well as online and print resources for your patients to take home – and perhaps even offer a variety of healthy snacks to show patients that what is good for them can taste good as well.

Teachers

Teachers can help promote National Nutrition Month by discussing the different food groups and the appropriate portions needed daily for each. They can also utilize the games, word searches, and puzzles to make the experience more entertaining. Most children enjoy planning and participating in a party. Use this month to plan a healthy party, and have children research healthy foods and activities for the party. When planning the menu, be sure to include choices from all the food groups in a variety of colors.

Pharmacists

Being a pharmacist requires more than just being familiar with prescription medications and drug interactions. Clients will come in and ask about herbal remedies, vitamin supplements, and over the counter medications. Use this month as an opportunity to educate customers about meeting their vitamin requirements through a healthy diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables. Place signs and provide printed literature about which vitamins are found in the various foods.

The American Dietetic Association has more information about eating well, activities for children, promotional ideas, and education resources. This is an excellent resource for even more information on how to help others become excited about good nutrition. How do you plan to celebrate National Nutrition Month?

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