March is National Nutrition Month®, an annual nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
According to OneWorld’s WIC Program Manager, Dawn Ballosingh, RD, LMNT, who serves as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Chair of the Women’s Health Dietetic Practice Group, the annual campaign was created for two reasons. First, to inform the public about how Registered Dietitian-Nutritionists can help with disease management and prevention; cost-effective nutrition education; and interventions in wellness and population health. Second, to help the public identify food and nutrition experts who can “provide evidence-based information on food, nutrients and medical nutrition therapy without compromising their health or pre-existing conditions.”
“Making healthy food choices and developing healthy eating habits are important, as these actions allow you to prevent chronic disease development or familial disease states,” Ballosingh said. “It is more cost effective to prevent disease than it is to treat acute onset and chronic disease management. Making informed food choices also helps people from being duped into buying exotic supplements for quick health fixes or from entrapping themselves into expensive trending programs that may have adverse effects on their present health.”
According to Ballosingh, a number of adverse side effects often accompany some “trendy” diets, so before altering the way you eat, she recommends talking with an expert who can provide evidence-based information.
For those who are ready to make some subtle lifestyle changes to improve their health during National Nutrition Month®, Ballosingh recommends following “the four Ps”:
- Make your plate plant-based (lots of fruits and vegetables!)
- Choose pure foods. Foods that are whole and not overly processed or highly sugared (like boxed dinners or snacks) are best for you.
- Practice smaller portion sizes. Try using a smaller plate or bowl when you eat a meal.
- Play! Do some physical exercise or activity for about one hour every day if you can. Physical activity doesn’t have to be complicated—you can play a game of tag with the kids or walk the dog.
At OneWorld, Ballosingh manages the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) nutrition program and works to help children and families access supplemental foods, health care referrals and nutrition education. The WIC program supports low-income women who are pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum, as well as infants and children up to age 5 who are found to be at nutritional risk. The WIC team includes registered dietitians and nutritionists who specialize in prenatal and intra-conceptual nutrition; breastfeeding nutrition and support; and the prevention of childhood obesity.
OneWorld also offers a variety of nutrition services for patients who are not eligible for WIC, including dietitian-led weight management classes; classes focusing on diabetes prevention and management; and a free health and nutrition program for families with children.
“I am so proud to have been a part of OneWorld moving toward a more interdisciplinary approach to patient care that incorporates the expertise of the Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist,” Ballosingh said. “I look forward to the evolution of the messaging related to consistent nutrition, breastfeeding and feeding behaviors across the organization so we can move the needle significantly and measurably in our population’s health.”
Dawn Ballosingh, RD, LMNT, is OneWorld’s WIC Program Manager. She serves as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Chair of the Women’s Health Dietetic Practice Group, and recently, she became one of two representatives from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to serve on the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee. In 2016, she was named the Omaha District Dietetic Association’s Dietitian of the Year, and the Douglas-Sarpy County Health Department Board of Directors appointed her to serve on the Fetal Loss and Infant Mortality Case Review Team. In November 2018, Ballosingh was appointed to the National WIC Association’s Leadership Academy, and she is working to update their curriculum. In February 2019, she was named as a nominee for the Nebraska Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Outstanding Dietitian of the Year award.