A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that nutrition education actually reduces hunger over time. That’s right: The study found that the right kind of nutrition education actually reduced food insecurity by 25 percent.
“Food assistance is very important and this shows that nutrition education is an effective part of improving food security as the lessons focused on practical ways to stretch food dollars while eating nutritiously,” said Heather Eicher-Miller, an assistant professor of nutrition science as quoted in the Journal of Nutrition, adding that nutrition education “is making a significant impact” because “an education program that is shared with just one person in a household has the power to change how an entire family is eating for one year.”
Those of us working in hunger and nutrition have known intuitively that when you pair good food with information about what’s in it, why that matters, and how to prepare it, you get a net increase in the value of that food. But to have that confirmed by a reputable University like Purdue, and published in the respected Journal of Nutrition is a game changer:
- It moves us out of the exhausting “Give a man a fish, verses teach a man to fish,” debate. The answer is both. Men (and even more women) need emergency food AND empowering information that helps them learn how to shop on a budget, how to prepare good food simply and quickly, and the power of food to improve their health.
- This study will open the eyes of funders – both the government, who funded this work as well as other private funders.
At the Capital Area Food Bank, nutrition education is at the core of all our work. We are helping people:
- Shop smart, squeezing more food out of each dollar so that their food goes further.
- Prepare food quickly, and cheaply. It is an urban myth that you can’t compete with the price of fast food. CAFB has 85 recipes that prove it, offering meals for four for less than $7.
- Realize the importance food has on their health. Men and women have the power to reduce their odds of getting diabetes or heart disease by learning to eat smart.
We are bringing these lessons to 61 schools in the District of Colombia, Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Fairfax County and Prince William County. We are also doing it through community food distributions.
Congratulations to Rebecca L. Rivera et al. and to Purdue University. Hooray for the Journal of Nutrition for highlighting this important work. And thanks to my colleagues here at the Food Bank who work every day to bring knowledge to the table along with good food.
Please donate today to support this critical work.