Newswise — CHICAGO – The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation and its Kids Eat Right initiative empower more than 5,000 registered dietitian nutritionists to address childhood obesity and food insecurity, making an impact both locally and nationally through research and education.
Kids Eat Right was launched in 2010 to reduce childhood obesity trends. Thousands of campaign members—registered dietitian nutritionists—will take collective action nationwide in August in schools and communities to celebrate the first annual Kids Eat Right Month.
“Kids Eat Right campaign members are dedicated to using the science of food and nutrition to improve the health of children and families,” says registered dietitian nutritionist and Foundation Chair Terri J. Raymond. “As the food and nutrition experts, RDNs have the knowledge and expertise to make a difference in the health of children, and the Academy Foundation is proud to support RDNs as we engage families, schools and communities on the local level, making a big impact nationwide.”
As the world’s largest charitable organization devoted exclusively to nutrition and dietetics, the Academy’s Foundation has awarded:
• $150,000 in mini-grants to registered dietitian nutritionists to provide nutrition education to more than 50,000 kids and adults across the country
• $297,000 in research grants to Academy members, including $35,000 for childhood obesity research through the Foundation’s Food and Nutrition Research Endowment
• $1 million in Champions for Healthy Kids grants in 2014, providing nonprofit organizations working with registered dietitian nutritionists the resources they need to make an impact locally.
The Foundation has also supported programs in schools and community centers, targeting kids and parents as part of the RD Parent Empowerment program. An evaluation of the program found statistically significant improvements in parents adopting healthy behaviors for themselves and their families.
“Support at home for healthful eating and physical activity is key, but we also found that reaching kids at school is extremely effective, especially in low-income communities that are more heavily burdened by the obesity epidemic and the lack of resources for prevention and wellness,” Raymond says.
To make an impact in schools, the Foundation created Energy Balance for Kids with Play, an evidence-based program that promotes healthy school environments through nutrition, physical activity and energy balance knowledge and behavior changes in kids. Led by specially trained RDNs as school nutrition coaches, EB4K has engaged 170,000 elementary students in 90 schools within the past seven years.
“Through EB4K, we’ve seen tremendous success in increasing students’ nutrition knowledge and attitudes and creating a school environment that supports healthier behaviors,” Raymond says.
According to Raymond, in a two-year evaluation of the EB4K program in a school district in Richmond, California, students in third and fourth grade experienced a significant reduction in body mass index and participated in more moderate to vigorous physical activity than comparison schools. Lunch records also showed that the EB4K schools ordered more vegetables for their school lunch program than comparative schools.
Through Kids Eat Right, the Foundation also features the interactive www.KidsEatRight.org, providing science-based health and nutrition articles, recipes, videos and tips to help parents and families shop smart, cook healthy and eat right.
For more information about Kids Eat Right Month and the Kids Eat Right program, visit KidsEatRight.org.
All registered dietitians are nutritionists – but not all nutritionists are registered dietitians. The Academy’s Board of Directors and Commission on Dietetic Registration have determined that those who hold the credential registered dietitian (RD) may optionally use “registered dietitian nutritionist” (RDN) instead. The two credentials have identical meanings.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation is a 501(c)3 charity devoted exclusively to nutrition and dietetics. It funds scholarships and awards, public awareness and research projects and the Academy strategic initiatives, and is the largest provider of scholarships and awards in the field of dietetics. The Foundation’s mission is advancing public health and nutrition utilizing the expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists. Visit the Academy Foundation at www.eatright.org/foundation.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy at www.eatright.org.