By: Rachel Coury
Three weeks ago I started my Technology/Information Management rotation at FNIC (Food and Nutrition Information Center). This rotation has been an eye opening experience for me as it is completely different than the other rotations I have completed to date. At FNIC dietitians have more of a behind the scenes role. They essentially act as a resource center; their job to manage websites for food service personnel, nutrition educators, and others in the field to upgrade their skills and knowledge. They are constantly adding/updating resources to coincide with the current nutrition recommendations and trends. Since I have been here, we have added a “Sodium Reduction” page to go along with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines (they emphasize lowering your sodium intake), updated a Farm to School page as sustainability is a big trend right now, and added a page of webinar trainings- hello 21st century.
My favorite project though was helping to develop an “International School Meal Programs” page. This page is completely different from any other on their site as it takes into consideration a global perspective on child feeding. I had a fun time researching different school meal programs around the globe and comparing them to ours. I learned that many countries are facing the same problems as us- developing healthier meals and promoting good health to combat the obesity epidemic that is affecting our population from a younger and younger age. On the other end of the spectrum are the third world countries in which humanitarian school feeding programs have focused their efforts. For many children in these countries, school lunch is the only meal they get all day. On the menu- usually porridge.
Although it is disheartening to hear about these struggles, I found many inspiring stories through my research. Organizations are dedicated to bringing food to schools in countries where children normally wouldn't have this luxury; kids are being taught how to start a farm in food deserts so that they can have access to food in the future; children are taking part in the process of growing/preparing meals so that they understand and appreciate where food comes from. We are making great strides in the area of global child nutrition, and I am thankful that, because of technology, I am able to learn about them.