Silly question, maybe. If you’re here, you must be, right? I guess the real question is, what are you doing about it?
I have been advocating for nutrition policy in Washington, D.C. this week, as I did last year, and I always feel inspired after talking about nutrition with the leaders of our country. It’s clear to me they care about kids, their parents and the overall health of Americans. Sometimes I doubt that fact, but in my heart, I know they do care.
In Washington, I learned about the policies that affect registered dietitians and their ability to offer their expertise and services to Americans who need them. The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act (TROA) is a bill that will allow overweight adults to receive nutrition counseling and other treatment modes from qualified professionals, while allowing nutrition professionals (and others) to bill for their services. If you’re a parent who struggles with weight, this is a way to help you get the treatment you need and the insurance coverage for it.
We know that adults who are helped by a qualified professional like a registered dietitian do better with weight loss and their co-existing health problems (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc). The knowledge gained from treating adult weight challenges has an impact on children too, improving food, nutrition and lifestyle at home. This saves money on America’s healthcare costs.
I met several RDs there that share the mission of moving policy forward for the betterment of health and wellness among Americans. I also got to visit the National Press Room, where political news happens.
If you are passionate about nutrition, effecting policy change at the national and state level is electrifying (at least to me). But not all of us have the desire or ability to march to the capitol. There are little things you can do in your hometown to have an impact, though.
Participate in the Health and Wellness committee at your school. If your school doesn’t have one, they should. Get it started. Share your knowledge, and pull in resources and people who care about the food our children eat in school.
Volunteer to help at food-oriented events. Massage the food offerings to reflect healthy options, rather than easy, cheap or what the kids want or will eat.
Share your opinions and concerns about food at Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) meetings. Remember, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”
Offer to share your specialized knowledge in food and nutrition with parents or students in a more formalized setting, as a speaker or program coordinator. Let it be your good deed.
Send a note to the principal, the PTA president, the teacher, even your own representative or Senator, or someone else you think might have some influence in making changes to the nutrition in your school for the better.
Get involved in your town’s government. Even if you just sit in on the public meetings, you’ll get a feel for what is going on and where the priorities lie. Who knows, maybe you’ll be an active member someday.
It’s not hard to get involved, and every little effort helps—tremendously. If for nothing else, get involved to raise awareness about nutrition for our children’s health, wellbeing, academic success, and sports performance.
How are you involved in nutrition policy? Let me know!
Written by: Jill Castle, MS, RDN
Published on: April 2, 2014
Updated on: December 6, 2018