Nutrition educators support healthy eating incentive programme

Posted: 13 March 2023 | | No comments yet

To promote increased intake of fruit and vegetables, nutrition educators have shown their support for the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program.

fruit and veg

Nutrition educators have shown their support for the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP), a scheme funded by the US Department of Agriculture, that includes the Nutrition Incentive (NI) and Produce Prescription (PPR) programs.

The programmes provide financial incentives for healthy eating by increasing the purchase and consumption of fruits and vegetables and reducing food insecurity in order to prevent and treat nutrition-related diseases.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, nearly one in three adults (30.7 percent) are overweight, and 42.4 percent of adults have obesity. However, nutrition programmes could be used to educate US citizens about the importance of healthy eating through different methods. 

“Nutrition education is provided in different ways through the GusNIP program,” said Sarah A. Stotz, Lead Author and adjunct Research Scientist Consultant at the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition, New York.

“Some programmes provide lower touch nutrition education such as recipe cards or newsletters, while others are more robust and include cooking or nutrition education classes,” continued Stotz.

Forty-one nutrition educators were reportedly contacted via email invitation by an assigned national programme advisor, where they then completed a survey and participated in either an individual interview or a focus group.

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With participants having an average of eight years working in nutrition education and nearly a quarter identifying as registered dietitian nutritionists, the nutritional educators provided their insight and expertise in response to the survey.

Seeking change, the educators highlighted that it is key to explore the value of cross-sector partnerships with healthcare centres and community organisations. They also noted the need for solutions to challenges providing “quality nutrition education” while also engaging in “meaningful programme evaluation”.

“Nutrition educators play a unique role by providing participant-centred education, navigating food environments that can make healthful eating hard to do, and culturally adapting their programming to meet the needs of diverse audiences,” noted Amy Yaroch, Executive Director at the Gretchen Swanson Center for Nutrition and Project Director for the GusNIP NTAE.

Concluding the study findings, Stotz said: “If resources were available, educators said they would like to expand the peer educator and community health worker models by providing competitive salaries to these key nutrition education and program implementation team members.”

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