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Nutrition Integrity: We Practice What We Teach

Nutrition integrity is about aligning our food actions with our nutrition education and practicing what we teach.

Making the Case

Clearly, there is a need for greater emphasis for our programs and projects to demonstrate nutrition integrity. If we are committed to promoting health and reducing the risks of chronic diseases, then our food actions need to align with our nutrition and health education efforts. We need to integrate, educate and role model the life skills of healthy food choices and physical activity. We must practice what we teach.

The 2005 Hawaii health data shows over half of Hawaii’s adult population is overweight; and 71% don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. Department of Health data indicates the leading causes of death, adjusted for age per 100,000 people in Hawaii are 1) 152 due to heart disease, 2) 149 due to cancer and 3) 44 due to stroke. Also, over 30 percent of the adult population in Hawaii has been told that their blood pressure was high, over 38% report high blood cholesterol, and diabetes mellitus affects about 8 percent of Hawaii's residents. Many others have not yet been diagnosed.(,,

In addition, child obesity has reached epidemic proportions. A recent research study conducted by the University of Hawaii Kinesiology and Leisure Science Department and the Brigham Young University Exercise and Sport Science Department found 19 to 25, out of every 100 children measured were overweight, depending on age and sex. More and more youth in Hawaii and across the U.S. are becoming overweight or obese.

Situation Statement

There is a link between nutrition, nutrition education and the well being of individuals and families. Hawaii statistics indicate high rates of obesity, hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Hawaii’s Healthy People 2020 initiatives target the need for increasing physical activity and healthy eating to promote health and reduce the risks of chronic diseases.

The University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources - Cooperative Extension Service is responsible for providing high quality programs to promote the quality of life of Hawaii’s citizens. Just as brand name products imply quality, maintaining academic rigor is integral to preserving the reputation and credibility of University of Hawaii programs.

Food-based learning experiences offer opportunities to explore connections between food production, foods, food safety, nutrition and health. Nutrition education is the knowledge and food actions are the applications, skills and behaviors.

The following criteria list is a guide to align food-based program decisions to help children, youth, adults, and older adults achieve and maintain healthy eating patterns.

Guiding Principles for Nutrition Integrity

We practice what we teach. Extension food skills learning experiences are based on:

  • Recommended dietary guidelines
  • The MyPlate food guidance system
  • Safe food handling practices
  • Including foods that are visually appealing, tasty and age appropriate
  • Including locally-grown fruits and vegetables whenever possible

These principles are applicable to:

  • Foods offered at meetings, workshops, conferences and other gatherings
  • Food demonstrations, food shows, contests, projects, and other food learning activities
  • Food fundraisers
  • Cookbooks and recipes

Core Concepts – Shared Expectations

To ensure that the integrity of CTAHR's food and nutrition programs maximize benefits to our clientele, Cooperative Extension recommends that our programs, projects, education, events and activities encompass the following concepts.

  • Learning laboratory for knowledge and skills taught
  • Dietary Guidelines and MyPlate
  • Food safety
  • Choices, variety, proportion, moderation, whole foods, eating environments
  • Convenience, add-ins and add-ons, appropriate reductions
  • Cultural diversity as opportunities
  • Locally produced foods
  • Individual and special needs considerations
  • Appealing for acceptance, practical and realistic
  • Professional development and learning opportunities
  • Collaboration for synergy, efficiency and effectiveness
  • Shared resources

Suggestions for Aligning

Links to More Resources

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