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A lot of people have no idea but March is National Nutrition Month. Health professionals and dietitians have been celebrating National Nutrition Month since 1973. It began to grow in celebration throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Many of the messages conveyed throughout the public included making informed food choices while developing strong exercise and eating habits.
The American Dietic Association introduced their mascot — Nutribird — in 1977. The mascot had a body shaped like a head of lettuce with a carrot beak. They featured Nutribird on promotional items. The items were then used at special events in healthcare facilities, community centers, and schools.
Some dietitians would dress up as Nutribird to deliver healthy eating habits messages to children and adults. The mascot was laid to rest in the 1980s due to some believing it was too frivolous for the dietetic profession.
In the 1990s, the focus of National Nutrition Month became more on effective messaging to consumers. They also raised awareness of consumer trends. At that time, it became apparent that people knew that good nutrition was important to their health. They just did not know how to incorporate it into their lifestyles.
To boost the public awareness of nutrition the Dietary Guidelines for Americans was created. These guidelines are now updated and released every five years.
Every year the American Dietetic Association chooses a theme to help celebrate National Nutrition Month. In the past, the themes included Savour the Flavor of Eating Right, Put Your Best Fork Forward, and Go Further With Food.
For National Nutrition Month 2021 the theme is Personalize Your Plate. This theme promotes creating nutritious meals to meet an individual’s cultural and personal food preferences.
A national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Miami, Florida — Su-Nui Escobar — said, “America is a cultural melting pot, so you can’t expect everyone’s food choices to look the same.”
Eating is meant to be a joyful experience.
Escobar further stated, “As supermarkets increasingly diversify their shelves to meet the needs of their customers, it’s becoming easier to create nutritious meals that align with a variety of cultural preferences.”
Written by Sheena Robertson
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