Installation of module will make nutritional data readily available
By: Frank McNeilly
Charts from Trust for America’s Health
Does nutrition play a role in obesity?
When I think about food and obesity, two things come to mind: portion sizes and nutrition facts.
According to a study from Trust for America’s Health, the 2011 obesity rates for Washington state were 26.5%.
The study said that if the pattern continues, Washington state’s obesity rate would be 55.5% by 2030. If Washington state’s BMI was reduced 5% from the projected path by 2030, the percentage of obesity would be 49.1%.
One of the recommendations from Trust for America’s Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report on obesity is to update nutritional standards for snack foods and beverages in elementary and secondary schools.
Eastern Washington University Dining Services is in the process of providing nutritional data with the food that they serve.
Currently, there is not a nutritionist employed with EWU’s Dining Services or EWU’s Health and Wellness, according to Dave McKay, director of Dining Services.
McKay said that dining services is working on the installation of a nutritional database that would be able to find nutritional facts for a large variety of foods, and have the ability to enter recipes in to calculate nutritional value.
“We don’t have a nutritionist on staff on dining or in health and wellness,” McKay said. “One of the things I think this university lacks for good dining is … a module … would allow us to access anything that we purchase [by] UPC code … will be in the FDA database.”
Installation of the system will begin in May and will be used during fall quarter 2013, according to McKay.
McKay said that there is more of a focus on balance and portion sizes since a nutritional change came from the FDA.
“A couple of years ago the FDA changed from the infamous pyramid … to the ‘my plate,’” McKay said. “It broke out a difference of more of a balance. Previously, grains held such a huge direction.”
There has been student interest in seeing bullet points of meal items that dining service serves including calories, fat and sodium, according to McKay.
“Nutrition, as you find it from ice cream to spinach, all of those things are okay for you [but] it’s how much of it,” McKay said.
Trust for America’s Health: http://tfah.org/report/100/
The Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/09/18/over-next-two-decades-obesity-could-cost-us-550-billion/