SNAP-Ed Nutrition Education Is Critical to Ensuring Americans Lead Healthier Lives, Says Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
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CHICAGO – The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is standing up in support of SNAP-Ed, the nutrition education program that accompanies the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, highlighting its positive impact on the health of low-income Americans.
The Academy recently urged the United States Department of Agriculture to formalize an interim rule that strengthens SNAP-Ed.
"The nation has paid a high price for overlooking food and nutrition. This interim rule is very timely, because it will provide more low-income Americans, who disproportionately suffer from poor diet and poor health, with the tools necessary to lead healthy lives on a limited budget," said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics President Dr. Glenna McCollum.
The Academy supports USDA's interim rule that awards grants for nutrition education and obesity prevention programs in every state. The Academy stresses the importance of providing consumers with nutrition education so they can make healthful decisions to help prevent chronic disease. The Academy also agrees with the interim rule's intent to increase access to SNAP-Ed, ensuring more opportunities for low-income populations to reap the benefits of these essential nutrition education and prevention programs.
In addition to urging USDA to strengthen SNAP-Ed, the Academy has activated its 75,000-plus members to send letters to Congress asking for support of SNAP-Ed and other vital nutrition programs authorized in the Farm Bill.
"As Congress attempts to reauthorize the Farm Bill, members of the House and Senate have proposed funding cuts to SNAP and SNAP-Ed. These cuts would undermine the goal of these programs to reduce hunger in the U.S. and educate those consumers who are on a restricted budget to make more healthful lifestyle choices consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and MyPlate," McCollum said.
SNAP-Ed programs, frequently led by registered dietitian nutritionists, are offered in every state and have shown to be effective and change behavior. Positive outcomes include increased fruit and vegetable intake, reduced rates of childhood obesity, improved food safety practices, utilization of a shopping list and implementation of meal planning.
"Offering nutrition assistance programs that are accompanied by nutrition education is particularly important to improve dietary outcomes of low-income community members," McCollum said. "If the integrity of these programs is decimated, low-income, hungry people will have less to eat and less nutrition knowledge to help them lead a healthy life."
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 (formerly the American Dietetic Association) 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.