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Facts Up Front: a dietitian’s point of view

October 5, 2015

By: Kim Kirchherr, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE, FAND

When I first became a dietitian, it was from personal interest and commitment to health and wellness for myself and my family.  This translated to a strong commitment to inspire and lead by example, making it fun to put actionable science and credible nutrition information to work for the audiences I serve and for the individual patients who, through education, are learning to manage their health conditions.

Imagine you are newly diagnosed with diabetes.  Or have a heart attack.  All of a sudden, you are thinking about food and grocery shopping differently because of the direct impact your choices can have on health.  This scenario is more common than we may think since heart disease is the number one cause of death for men and women in The United States, and diabetes and heart disease go hand in hand.

Health professionals, retailers and food manufacturers have an incredible opportunity to work together to help meet the health and wellness goals of our customers, patients and employees. We each just need to do our part to provide helpful, credible information that can make it easier to select better choices for each individual’s needs.

I share this with you because it is one of the reasons behind why I agreed to be a part of Facts up Front advisory panel years ago, and why, when Grocery Manufacturers Association asked me to help inform the public through a TV segment on Lifetime TV’s “The Balancing Act” this fall, I said yes.

Food is a personal decision made with so many layers of motivation to choose what we do.  Culture, religion, budget, taste, health, cooking skills, time…the list goes on and on.

How do we cut through the clutter and provide people with tools and tips to grow their understanding and make their informed choices better ones for them?  By streamlining the message.

Facts Up Front does this by taking key pieces of information from the familiar Nutrition Facts panel and simply placing them up front where a busy shopper can easily glance at the information, regardless of brand or price, and think about how that item fits into their family goals and meal plan.  It’s not about diets or giving up food, it’s context and how to build in all the things we know and love in a smarter, more manageable way.

And because we know the food experience doesn’t stop when shoppers leave the store, factsupfront.org has recipes to help turn those groceries, or ingredients into a meal.

Our goal is that this TV segment helps bring to life the useful tool that Facts Up Front is, whether one is simply shopping for their next nutritious meal, or making new choices to help manage a health condition.  To learn more, follow Facts Up Front on Twitter and visit www.factsupfront.org.

 

Kim Kirchherr, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE, FAND, is a Registered Dietitian with more than 18 years experience, and has served as a member of the Facts Up Front advisory panel. She is Vice President of the National Dairy Council, and a Health & Wellness Advisor to IGA.  

 

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