5 Ways You Can Help Promote Nutrition Security
One of the greatest challenges of this century is to find a way to sustainably feed a population that is expected to reach 9 billion by the year 2050. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (Academy) and National Dairy Council understand the importance of working with other organizations, like the Chicago Council for Global Affairs, to promote sustainable agriculture and improve health outcomes in people around the world.
As my colleague Greg Miller, explains in his recent blog post, the task is huge and the issues are complex, but working together we can make a difference. In order to make wise decisions about how our food is made, dietary guidance and population health, we need to continue to build a scientific research base and collaborate with people from many disciplines, including agriculture, public health, food safety, sociology, economics and nutrition.
Last December the Academy and its Foundation hosted a conference that I attended to learn more about the RDN’s role in agriculture, nutrition and health. The conference was eye opening. We all realized the remarkable potential RDNs have to broaden the conversation on food security to include nutrition security – as we work together to ensure that people have access to a variety of nutrient-dense foods that promote health.
Health and wellness professionals and RDNs have a variety of skills, including food safety and advanced training in clinical and community nutrition. While global issues of nutrition security can seem almost too big to wrap our arms around, we can start to make small changes today, which can yield big results tomorrow. Here are five strategies to get you started.
- Learn about the connection between food, agriculture and health. Read: Healthy Food for a Healthy World: Leveraging Agriculture and Food to Improve Global Nutrition and the FAO’s Approach to Nutrition-Sensitive Agricultural Development. The 2013 Sustainability Report outlines how dairy farms and companies are helping improve the food system.
- Partner with like-minded professionals and organizations. Academy members have successfully collaborated with Feeding America to improve nutrition security, and dietetic practice groups such as Hunger and Environmental Nutrition and Food and Culinary Professionals have materials and resources to educate both health professionals and the public.
- Recognize that the research to support recommendations for a sustainable eating plan is still in its infancy. Learn all you can, and don’t get ahead of the science when giving advice about sustainable nutrition.
- Choose wisely. Walk the talk when it comes to helping reduce food waste, which is a global challenge. Watching portion sizes is one way to help manage food waste and help manage calorie consumption – and is already what many of you are helping your clients to do.
- Use what you learn. Educate and help people connect with food, agriculture, and sustainability.
Follow me @JeanRagalieRD as we continue to discuss how together we can make a difference.