It's March, which every RDN, DTR and member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics knows means … its National Nutrition Month — let's celebrate!
Before there was National Nutrition Month, there was National Nutrition Week. Launched in 1973 with a proclamation, public service announcements and bumper stickers, the inaugural campaign's theme was "Invest in Yourself — Buy Nutrition." National Nutrition Week was started to promote and deliver nutrition education messages to the public. Due to its growing popularity, National Nutrition Week was extended to a whole month in 1980. Today, we use social media to promote National Nutrition Month's message and theme. This year's theme is "Savor the Flavor of Eating Right" and the official hashtag is #NationalNutritionMonth.
Celebrate National Nutrition Month in Your Community
The best place to start is to build relationships with your community members. It may seem easier for those who already work in schools to make an impact on our youngest citizens, but there are plenty of other opportunities. Are you an entrepreneur in a business with a team of fellow dietitians? Use your strong professional relationships to share positive nutrition messages!
- Volunteer to host grocery store tours to educate community members on how to read food labels.
- Arrange a series of classes at a local YMCA, library or community center.
- Promote healthy messages to students using educational games. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson Nancy Farrell, MS, RDN, "Nutrition education is the first step against the disease of obesity. Since proper nutrition affects us all, knowledge is power and in turn drives us to make changes that lead to positive outcomes for ourselves and our loved ones. Nutrition education for the whole family is a win-win for us all."
- Advocate for your local schools to provide breakfast, lunch and dinner to low-income students. "Providing three meals at school helps us make sure kids get meals packed with important nutrients," says Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson Wesley Delbridge, RD. "We have also provided backpacks for the weekend that include non-perishable items so that kids can help make healthy meals for their family."
- Host a nutrition education booth at a local fun run or charity walk.
- Use your creativity! "National Nutrition Month is a great way to begin talking about the benefits of eating healthy and living a positive lifestyle," says Sarah Hendren, RD."
However you do it, National Nutrition Month is a great chance to spread your message about healthy living to your community!