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Press Release


PR Newswire

Presented by the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior and Dairy Council of California

SACRAMENTO, Calif., May 29, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Food plays many distinct roles in our lives in addition to its fuel and health functions. Acknowledging the multiple, and often simultaneous, roles that food can play and aligning client consultations and communications appropriately will help registered dietitians and nutrition educators improve health outcomes and positive eating behaviors.

This was the fundamental message conveyed during "The Way We Eat: Looking Beyond Nutrients to Help Clients Build Better Diets," a webinar presented earlier this month by Dairy Council of California and the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB). SNEB President Brian Wansink, Ph.D., remarked, "We are pleased to have partnered with Dairy Council of California to provide a terrific learning opportunity in support of nutrition education and healthful behaviors." 

Attended by over 300 registered dietitians and nutrition educators, the live webinar featured consumer research conducted on the Millennial generation, presented by Mary Young, M.S., R.D., senior food and nutrition strategist for Edelman Public Relations; an in-depth look at these elements as they relate to a food group, by culinary anthropologist Polly Adema, Ph.D.; and practical application tips that can enhance the effectiveness of client education and counseling sessions, by author Laura Thomas, M.Ed., R.D., L.D. An outline of major points follows.

Modern food systems and changes in eating occasions have changed American culture and waistlines. Nutrition has shifted from overcoming nutrient deficiencies to meeting the health needs of a population that is overweight but undernourished.

Research has identified nine separate factors that influence food choices. Registered dietitians tend to counsel around the first two factors — Fuel and Health — but these alone may not motivate behavior change as powerfully as some of the other factors.

According to Young, understanding the remaining seven factors — Culture and Heritage; Memories and Celebrations; Human Connection; Expression of Love; Emotions; Creative Outlet; and Personal Struggles — and aligning dietary advice to clients with these factors in mind can improve counseling options for nutrition professionals.

To illustrate how food has evolved and can play multiple roles for consumers, Adema shared the evolution of milk and milk products and their subsequent consumption in the U.S. For example, scientific breakthroughs such as pasteurization made milk safer and more reliable for consumers while historical events such as Prohibition helped convert milk from an at-home beverage to a highlight for social occasions.

Today, milk in the form of cheese is inherent in comfort foods of many cultures. What people know and love as macaroni and cheese in the U.S. also appears in Eastern Europe as "noodle kugel"; in Austria and Germany as "kasspatzen/kaese spaetzle"; "maccheroni e formaggio" in Italy; and paneer noodle rolls in Asia. When counseling about food, considering the emotional impact of food choice is essential.

"Ask, then listen," urged Thomas. By taking a more holistic approach and delving deeper into habits and feelings, nutrition educators can help clients identify the factors influencing their own food choices and shift behaviors to healthier choices. Conversation starters that tap into the emotional motivation inherent in food choice selections can lead clients to plans for improvement that are more rooted in reality and likely to succeed.

The recorded webinar, counseling resources, conversation starters and additional resources, as well as a certificate for continuing education, are now available at The webinar joins a series of free resources for registered dietitians and nutrition educators developed by Dairy Council of California, including a cultural food guide, A Celebration of Culture, and a Nutrition Education and Counseling Skills training module for dietetic interns and students.

About Dairy Council of California
Dairy Council of California ( serves as the dairy industry's contribution to community health by creating science-based nutrition education curricula and resources that help children and families improve their eating habits and make nutrient-rich choices from all food groups. For nearly a century, Dairy Council of California has partnered with schools, health professionals and community leaders to offer California families simple steps for making balanced food choices while conveying the irreplaceable role that milk and milk products play in a balanced diet.

About the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior
The Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior is an international organization of nutrition education professionals who are dedicated to promoting effective nutrition education and communication to support and improve healthful behaviors with a vision of healthy communities through nutrition education and advocacy. Visit the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior at SNEB is a USDA/CNPP National Strategic Partner.

On the Net:

Dairy Council of California:

Recorded Webinar "The Way We Eat: Looking Beyond Nutrients to Help Clients Build Better Diets":

"A Celebration of Culture," a cultural food guide:

Training module for dietetic interns and students:

Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior:

SOURCE Dairy Council of California