National surveys show increasing interest in diet and nutrition over the past two decades.
But with so much often-conflicting information coming at people today, it can be difficult to separate the whole wheat from the junk food chaff.
That’s where Ohio State University Extension comes in. As OSU Extension celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, its Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) programs are more relevant than ever, said Bridgette Kidd, Healthy People program specialist for OSU Extension. “Healthy People” is one of the focus areas of today’s FCS programming.
We’re able to provide reliable research-based information that empowers individuals to make quality decisions about their health, the health of their families and the health of their communities.
OSU Extension’s Healthy People programs cover a range of issues, including nutrition and wellness, food security, food safety and food preservation. “They’re all designed to meet the changing needs of Ohioans,” Kidd said.
That could mean helping people maintain a healthy weight, manage or prevent chronic disease, gain more control over the food they eat or participate more fully in the local foods movement.
- Live Healthy Live Well, which provides information and programs to workplaces to encourage healthy lifestyles, and organizes email wellness challenges, online programming and the use of social media to communicate reliable health and wellness information. Read the blog at livehealthyosu.com and like “Live Healthy Live Well” on Facebook.
- Dining with Diabetes, which is a series of three classes with cooking demonstrations to help individuals learn strategies to manage their diabetes through menu planning, carbohydrate counting, portion control, label reading and taste-testing healthy recipes.
- Million Hearts, which is a national initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. OSU Extension has partnered with Ohio State University’s College of Nursing on Million Hearts programming that includes lessons and healthy cooking demonstrations while nursing students provide free health screenings to participants.
- Food Safety, which includes offering guidance to consumers as well as training for food service managers, volunteers and employees who prepare food for large numbers of people.
- Food Preservation, which teaches gardeners and other lovers of fresh produce the basics of home canning and freezing fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Local Foods, which helps communities address multiple issues related to a local food system, from production through consumption.
- Ohio Farm to School, which is designed to help schools find and serve local foods. The program also teaches students where their food comes from and how their food choices affect their health, environment and community.
- Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, which is a series of eight lessons for low-income families on nutrition, food safety, food budgets and physical activity.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Education Program, which provides hands-on, interactive learning experiences in a variety of settings to participants in the SNAP (food stamp) program. The focus is on healthy eating, food resource management and physical activity.
“Part of our continued success is being adaptable,” Kidd said. “We’re known for our face-to-face programs, but we’re also using blogs, webinars, e-learning modules, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube videos to meet the needs of our diverse populations throughout the state.”
For more information on Extension’s Healthy People programs, see fcs.osu.edu.