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February 2007

F&N Students are Communicating!

Creating educations videos for the public, writing consumer friendly food and nutrition brochures, and conducting nutrition related media interviews, these are just a few of the exciting projects that students enrolled in F&N 424: Nutrition Communications get to participate in through out the year!   F&N 424: Nutrition Communications prepares foods and nutritionF&N Students teaching school age children about nutrition students to take all of the knowledge gained in the classroom and effectively communicate it to peers, clients and patients, employees, and the public.  Students learn that effective nutrition communicators focus on the needs of their audience.  Students learn how to create meaningful, accurate, timely, and memorable messages, and they practice the effective use of oral, electronic, and written communication channels.

Instructor Barb Mayfield, MS, RD, was a former Purdue F&N major (BS79) and fondly remembers this class as not only her favorite while a student, but also the one she used the most in her career as a nutrition educator and communicator.  Prior to joining the faculty in the spring semester of 2000, Barb worked in a variety of positions, including public health, private practice, writing and consulting, and has been president of her own nutrition education company, Noteworthy Creations, Inc., since 1992.  Barb enjoys using past and current examples of her work in the classroom.

There are many components to the class that teach students how to effectively communicate nutrition information.  Students learn how to perform a needs assessment to determine the needs of their audience.  They learn how to effectively research the literature and interpret it to their peers and the public.  They practice presentation skills and the use of visual aids and audience participation.  Projects include a professional presentation utilizing Power Point, a media interview, a food demonstration, a group media project creating an educational video, and writing press releases, abstracts, newsletters and brochures. 

The culminating project asks students to utilize communication techniques to develop and implement a community presentation. They are required to select an audience, conduct a needs assessment, conduct research of the topic and organize and plan an effective presentation. Students are encouraged to utilize visuals, involve the audience and develop effective evaluation tools for use during the presentation. Some example audiences include: young children, teen athletes, new moms, and, adults in fitness programs. Some example topics that students use to present include: dietary supplements and nutrition for athletes.

In the words of a former student, “I can honestly say, F&N 424 has been one of the most beneficial classes that I have taken here at Purdue.  I learned so much about communication and presentations.  These are things that I will take with me and use long after my college days are complete.”  For more information about the communications class contact Barb Mayfield, MS, RD, at bmayfield@purdue.edu.


The Ingestive Behavior Research Center Offers Cross-Disciplinary Approach

Food intake is determined by the interplay of physiological, behavioral and environmental factors. In spite of its multifactorial nature, ingestion has typically been approached from multiple and separate perspectives of different disciplines within the life Couple eating a mealsciences. The limitations of such compartmentalized approaches are highlighted by the recent and rapidly expanding epidemics in obesity and other related eating disorders. There is now widespread recognition that these epidemics have resulted because behavior has not adapted to recently evolved environmental and nutritional challenges.

The Ingestive Behavior Research Center (IBRC) at Purdue University addresses the need for integrative, cross-disciplinary approaches to the study of ingestion and its disorders by offering unique interdisciplinary training and research opportunities for predoctoral students and postdoctoral fellows interested in specializing in basic or applied research on ingestive behavior and its disorders. Several laboratories with long-standing independent research programs focused on ingestion, including Foods and Nutrition Department, have coordinated to create an exceptional research and training program.

The IBRC program's approaches emphasize thorough analyses of feeding behavior in humans and laboratory animal models across the lifespan from the neonatal period through adulthood and aging. These behavioral analyses are combined with equally rigorous assessments of the genetic, physiological, nutritional, neural, developmental and environmental determinants of feeding and its related disturbances. IBRC students and faculty participate in common activities that include seminars, journal clubs, research collaborations, shared facilities, participation in university-wide interdisciplinary initiatives, and a core curriculum for graduate training.  For more information about the Ingestive Behavior Research Center (IBRC) contact Richard Mattes, Ph.D., Professor at mattesr@purdue.edu.


School Wellness Policy: Educators Making a Difference

What extras are available for your kids in the school lunch line?  Is physical activity a part of your child’s school day?  What food and beverages are available in vending machines in your local school?  Recently there has been lots of activity around the issue of school wellness.  Indiana joins the rest of the Nation is caring about these very important questions related to student health.  In December 2005, a conference was held focusing on the national legislation directing schools to form coalitions to develop a school wellness policy by July 1, 2006.  Indiana Action for Healthy Kids, in partnership with the Indiana Department of Education – Division of School and Community Nutrition and the Indiana PTA, received a grant to implement and evaluate existing school wellness plans in the state of Indiana. The objectives of the grant are 1) to assess where Indiana school districts are in the process of implementing their wellness policies and 2) to provide training which meets those needs. Kids playing soccer

Purdue Cooperative Extension has joined the effort to make Indiana schools a healthy environment for all students. CFS Extension Educators from around the state contacted school administrators, teachers, food service directors, and other school personnel to offer assistance with forming a coalition and are taking an active role with the policy development.

Currently, educators are working with various key school personnel in each of the state’s nine Educational Service Center (ESC) regions to support workshops targeting the School Wellness Policy. The workshops will meet on two occasions between February and May of 2007. The workshops are looking to make a positive impact on school wellness in an effort to target the state’s high rate of childhood obesity. 

In the end, each school district in the state will be asked to submit a policy addressing the following issues from the 5 main areas: nutrition education, physical activity, nutrition standards for foods served in school, student activities related to wellness and goal for measurement and evaluation. More information regarding the current School Wellness Policy can be obtained by accessing the Division of School Community Nutrition Programs website at:www.doe.state.in.us/food or contact Laura Palmer, MS, RD, Extension Specialist at lpalmer@purdue.edu

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Foods & Nutrition Department
Stone Hall, Room 213
700 West State Street
West Lafayette, IN

Phone: (765) 494-8228
Fax: (765) 494-0674

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