Women’s Heart Health Month Comes to an End

The facility that I am currently rotating at asked me to assist in preparing a women’s heart health event using resources from the facility’s women’s clinic as well as another Registered Dietitian. So, with the help of WVU’s Extension Service Love Your Heart Movement, I prepared a PowerPoint presentation on women’s heart health and the importance of keeping West Virginia’s women healthy.

Of course, on Tuesday, West Virginia was hit with another spell of bad weather. So, not as many participants could attend. But we still had a very good turnout. I led the presentation with the majority of the information coming from another Love Your Heart Movement presentation, but I also incorporated some tables and graphs from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as tips from the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7.

Midway through the presentation a Registered Dietitian had an activity showing the differences between healthy fats and unhealthy fats. Some healthy fats that were displayed were walnuts, almonds, and canned tuna fish. Some unhealthy fats that were shown were butter and Crisco. This was done to show the difference between the health risks/benefits between solid fats and liquid fats as well.

We prepared for this presentation for weeks. And I’m really glad that I assisted with it because the women’s clinic at this facility is considered a special population due to the high volume of male patients they attend to. The participants seemed very engaged and willing to make those small steps towards becoming heart healthy!

I’d also like to say thank you to WVU’s Extension Service Love Your Heart Movement for not only providing the supplies, handouts, and supplemental information from one of their Extension Agents but also for providing the magnets and pins we gave the participants as incentives. The participants loved the items and information and we’re hoping for an even bigger event next year!

Facts on Women and CVD in West Virginia

CDC Burden of Chronic Disease in WV

CDC Women and Heart health Awareness

heart health1

Our Fats Demonstration! What's Healthy and What's Not?

Our Fats Demonstration! What’s Healthy and What’s Not?

Gift bags for the participants which included handouts, magnets, pins, and much more!

Gift bags for the participants which included handouts, magnets, pins, and much more!

I made red dress cards for all the participants to write their own personal goal for their health health. Then, we will hang the cards (similar to a clothesline) in the women's clinic lobby area!

I made red dress cards for all the participants to write their own personal goal for their heart health. Then, we will hang the cards (similar to a clothesline) in the women’s clinic lobby area!

heart health 5

The Big “C” in Food

eggs

People everywhere are looking for easy and affordable ways to add healthy protein to their diet. It seems that eggs appear to be the perfect little protein package. But since the advice from health professionals seems to change often about eggs, consumers are becoming increasingly confused. Healthy consumers really shouldn’t worry about this but, individuals who at-risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) or who have CVD, may want to be aware of this.

What seems to be more important than the food itself is the total cholesterol intake from food. Regardless of where the cholesterol comes from, like eggs or other animal products, consumers who are more susceptible to CVD should keep account of the cholesterol and saturated fat that they are consuming from these food sources.

Remember that eggs are contained in many foods, including bread, cakes, ice cream, muffins and even such entrees as breaded fish, meat dishes and meatloaf. Each of those might add just a fraction of an egg per serving, but together they can increase your cholesterol intake, especially since many of those items contain other ingredients that can be high in cholesterol and saturated fat, such as butter or cream.

Consumers should be careful about not confusing dietary cholesterol with blood cholesterol (LDL, HDL, and triglycerides). The major contributing factor of blood LDL cholesterol is saturated fat. There is a recommendation to limit dietary sources of saturated fat, largely found in dairy and animal protein. Although the saturated fat in eggs is relatively low compared with that in many other animal-based protein sources (one large egg has less than 2g of saturated fat), many of the foods that often accompany eggs (such as bacon, butter, cheese and sausage) are high in saturated fat as well. The combination of foods high in cholesterol, like these, can really add up.

According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, cholesterol intake by men averages about 350 mg per day, which exceeds the recommended level of less than 300 mg per day. Average cholesterol intake by women is 240mg per day. Independent of other dietary factors, evidence suggests that one egg (including egg yolk) per day does not result in increased blood cholesterol levels, nor does it increase the risk of cardiovascular disease in healthy people. Consuming less than 300mg per day of cholesterol can help maintain normal blood cholesterol levels. Consuming less than 200mg per day can further help individuals at high risk of cardiovascular disease.

On the plus side, eggs have many nutritional benefits. They’re a good source of high-quality protein, with relatively few calories (6.3 grams of protein for only 72 calories in a large egg). Eggs also contain vitamins B12 and D, and several essential micronutrients, including choline (important for brain health) and lutein (for eye health).

NHANES satd fat

cholesThe Washington Post

Happy Mediterranean Diet Month!

Did you know that May is Mediterranean Diet Month? The Mediterranean Diet is a way of eating reflective of traditions in the regions surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, in countries like Spain, France, Italy, Egypt, Morocco, Syria, Malta, Tunisia, Turkey, Algeria, Albania, Greece, Israel, Croatia, Libya, and Lebanon.. But, what most people don’t know is that you don’t need to travel around the world to get these heart healthy benefits. It’s remarkably easy to incorporate these types of foods into you and your family’s every day diet!

Embracing the Med Diet is all about making simple but profound changes in the way you eat today, tomorrow, and for the rest of your life. Here are 8 simple steps for good health:

1.       Eat lots of vegetables

2.       Change the way you think about meat

3.       Always eat breakfast

4.       Eat seafood twice a week

5.       Cook a vegetarian meal one night a week

6.       Use good fats

7.       Enjoy some dairy products

8.       For dessert, eat fresh fruit

The Mediterranean Diet also been shown to help:

          Achieve weight loss and weight management goals

          Lower your risk of heart disease and hypertension

          Fight cancers and chronic diseases

          Reduce asthma

          Avoid diabetes

          Resist depression

          Nurture healthier babies

Did you know that the Med Diet has its own food guide pyramid? Here are some tips at following the guide from the bottom (proven to be the most important) all the way up to the top….

          Look for ways to be more active

          Cooking and enjoying time with family and friends contribute to good health

          Every day, eat mostly whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, herbs, spices, nuts and peanuts, and healthy fats such as those found in olive oil

          At least twice a week, eat fish and seafood, the best sources of heart- and brain-healthy omega-3s

          Yogurt, cheese, poultry, and eggs are central to the Mediterranean Diet, in rational portion sizes

          Red meat and sweets, at the top of the pyramid, are “sometimes” foods to eat less often.

The Med Diet has specific nutrition “powerhouses” that play a significant role in the health benefits it provides to people all over the world…

          Avocados– high in fiber and packed with monounsaturated fat and vitamin E

          Fish– great sources of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and mackerel

          Tomatoes– vitamin C and lycopene, which is a great antioxidant

          Yogurt– a protein powerhouse containing calcium to strengthen your bones

          Beans– a great sources of protein and fiber

          Nuts, peanuts, and seeds– protein, fiber, AND heart-healthy fats

          Wine– contains powerful antioxidants from the grape skins and the seeds have been shown to reduce the risk of most diseases of aging

          Whole grains– these “good” carbs are packed with nutrients, fiber, and protein

Med_pyramid_flyer

The Plant-Based Mediterranean Wallet

The Mediterranean Wallet

Americans constantly correlate a healthy lifestyle to expensive foods. This is not always the case. Yes, fresh foods, like produce for example, are normally higher in price compared to canned foods, or foods with a longer shelf-life.

Studies have shown that adopting the Mediterranean Diet helps reduce risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and heart attacks, amongst other chronic health disparities. The lifestyle stresses the importance of plant-based meals. One major ingredient in the diet is olive oil. The introduction of olive oil into the diet has been determined, to aid in feeling fuller long or the feeling of satiety.

Studies have also shown that an increase in plant-based meals can lead to a decrease in food insecurity. Food insecurity is defined as a lack of access to nutritional foods for at least some days or some meals for members of a household.

Researchers conducted a study to emphasize the use of simple, plant-based recipes and olive oil, following a Mediterranean diet pattern. A number of participants commented on how inexpensive a Mediterranean-style diet was.  So, the study approached a local food bank about designing their study using food pantry items for the program’s recipes.

Most people, who attempt at putting together a nutritionally balanced menu for their family or household, spend the bulk of their budget on meats, poultry, and seafood. These items, specifically lower-fat versions, tend to be the most expensive items someone will see on their grocery store receipt. Low socioeconomic status families will normally purchase these items first, leaving little left in the budget for healthier fruits and vegetables.

The researcher on the study explained that if the focus of the shopper could be changed to eliminate foods that are not needed to improve health from the shopping list, a healthy diet can be more economical.  Certain foods that could be crossed off that grocery store list include meats, snacks, desserts, and carbonated beverages/sodas.

The first 6 weeks of the study consisted of cooking classes where instructors prepared quick and easy plant-based recipes that incorporated ingredients like olive oil, whole grain pasta, brown rice and fruits and vegetables. The participant’s progress was tracked for 6 months after the conclusion of the cooking program.

One particular benefit for those attending the 6 week cooking class was that they were provided with groceries that contained most of the ingredients discussed by the class facilitators. The chosen ingredients provided to the participants would allow them to make 3 of the discussed recipes for their family members.

Once the classes were over, the researchers collected grocery receipts throughout the remainder of the study. Analysis of these receipts showed a significant decrease in overall purchases of meats, carbonated beverages, desserts and snacks. This was particularly interesting to the research team as they never offered instruction to the participants to avoid buying these items.

The further review of the grocery receipts showed that each household enjoyed an increase in the total number of different fruits and vegetables consumed each month. Participants cut their food spending in more than half, saving nearly $40 per week. The study also found that the reliance on food pantries decreased as well, indicating a decrease in food insecurity.

The research team also found that the cooking program had unexpected health benefits as well. Almost one-half of the participants presented loss in weight. This was not an objective in the study but, raised a few eyebrows. The study also showed an overall decrease in BMI of the participants.

Overall, this study shows that a plant-based diet, similar to the Mediterranean Diet, not only contributes to an overall improvement in health and diet. The study also highlights how a plant-based diet can contribute to decreasing food insecurity in America.

Plant-Based Med Diet Can Be Easy On the Wallet

6-week Cooking Program on Plant-Based Recipes

plantbased diet

food inse

med dietmed diet cooking class

Qatar Outdoes America in Obesity Rates?

Well, America isn’t the Only Heavy Hitter Anymore…

The obesity epidemic in America has obviously generated a lot of publicity, in recent years. And more specifically, West Virginia has been in that spotlight with its towering obesity rates, let alone its childhood obesity rates.

But, now Qatar has been given that title of being the most obese country in the world.  According to new data release by the Supreme Council of Health, about 70% of people in Qatar are overweight and some 41% are obese.

If you’ve read my blogs before, I have posted about the Middle East and its urbanization, associated with fast food chains and obesity rates. The rapid urbanization in Qatar, and many other states in the Arab Peninsula, following the discovery of oil has contributed to a sedentary lifestyle. Coupled with a lack of exercise culture and diets high in fats, salts and sugar, obesity has rapidly increased in the Middle East.

The rapid increase in obesity has led to an increase in several non-communicable diseases in the small Gulf country, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and some cancers. According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the rate of diabetes in Qatar has climbed to 20.2% of the population.

Often people think that they need to do a lot to prevent illnesses. That is not the case. Often simply making minimal changes will help. The incidence of these diseases can be significantly reduced by simple lifestyle changes, such as increased regular exercise and integrating healthier foods into your diet.

Just alone is 2012, studies showed that 45% of adult Qataris were obese and up to 40% of school children were obese as well. Many Qataris, especially dietitians, are worried that in the next 5 years that 73% of Qatari women and 69% of Qatari men will be obese. Combined with high rates of diabetes, often triggered by excess weight, this has become a national… Wait, now a global concern for the country. In 2012, 15.4% of adult had diabetes, with rates in children below the age of 5 ay 28.8%.

Qatar surpasses US in obesity

Qatar is World’s Wealthiest and Obese

qatar fatty

qatar fat

Qatar sign

Happy RD Day!

Happy Registered Dietitian (RD) Day!!

March 13th celebrates Registered Dietitian Day! This celebration occurs every year during National Nutrition Month, which is March. RDs are the public’s go-to healthcare professionals when they need reliable nutrition information, in this field. RDs pull from their experience to create a personalized nutrition plan for people of every age. These are the professionals that are able to separate facts from fads and translate nutritional science into information you, the consumer/client/patient, can use!

Dietitians can improve the health of Americans and save money through healthcare costs. Medical nutrition therapy (MNT) provided by RDs is critical in preventing the top 3 chronic illnesses. It is well documented that MNT is associated with a decrease in utilization of hospital services of 9.5% for patients with diabetes and 8.6% for patients with cardiovascular disease. Also noteworthy is that participation in community-based programs that focused on improving nutrition and increasing physical activity had a 58% decrease in incidence of Type 2 Diabetes.

Registered Dietitians assist to promote a net decrease in healthcare utilization and costs for most people. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation estimates that in Idaho, for every $1 spent in wellness programs, companies could save $3.27 in medical costs and $2.73 in absenteeism costs. Some interventions have been shown to help improve nutrition and activity habits in just 1 year and had a return of $1.17 for every $1 spent. Reducing the average BMI in the state of Idaho by 5% could lead to health care savings of more than $1 billion in 10 years and $3 billion in 20 years.

Well, unfortunately Wild and Wonderful West Virginia isn’t as lucky as ole Idaho. West Virginia still leads the nation in obesity, and was recently named the state with the highest number of overweight residents in the union. According to the 2012 Gallup-Healthways Well-being Index released last week, 33.5% of West Virginia’s population is considered obese.

Mississippi is the closest with an obesity rate of 32.2%. Arkansas has a rate of 31.4%, Louisiana is 30.9% and Alabama is listed at 30.4%, to round out the top five.

Residents of the Mountain State believe that a reason for the high obesity rate is the change in physical jobs and increase in availability of fast food. The combination of lack of physical activity and the ready access of fast food and junk food in homes has really contributed to the epidemic. On the flip side of our state, nutrition-related efforts seem to be working as West Virginia is no longer in the top five for childhood obesity!

With the help from schools and communities, West Virginia is increasing physical activity and need for healthier foods. As a unit we are advocating and promoting activity and nutrition. I think it seems to be helping! All thanks to those RDs out there!!!

Job outlook: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nutrition and Dietetics careers are expected to increase much faster (by 20%) than other jobs by 2020 and faster than many other industries within health care. In 2010, the median annual salary for RDs was $53,250, at $23.60 an hour. And the number of jobs available in the nutrition and dietetics field was 64,400.

Money Bags

Bureau of Labor Statistics

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Fat West Virginia

Nutrition in the Community

RD Day 2013

RD Day

Love Your Heart Fun Lunch

Love Your Heart Fun Lunch- The Main Event

Well, the day finally arrived! Saturday February 2, 2013- The “Love Your Heart Fun Lunch” free heart screening event took place at the WVU Heart Institute in the Suncrest Towne Centre. The ISPP Dietetic Internship was there and we were ready to educate the community all about…. (drum roll please)… PORTION DISTORTION! Since the ISPP Dietetic Internship has an Emphasis Area of “Leadership in Community Wellness”, our table was geared towards addressing what so many Americans find themselves becoming confused about- serving sizes, portion control, and easy ways to remember how to stay healthy.

Our table consisted of the following informational material:

  • Portion distortion flyer
  • Serving sizes- comparing inanimate objects to correct serving sizes
  • Plate proportions
  • Quick, easy recipes for on-the-go people
  • Antioxidants handouts
  • Mindful eating flyer and handouts
  • Incentives- food diary, brochures of the TLC Diet, and Walnuts- relative to heart health

We were asked by the coordinators of the event to wear a red shirt and dress pants. All of the table covers were provided by the staff and they even provided tape for me to use when I was setting up and hanging our “How Well Do You Know Your Portions” poster. The participants received a stamp from the ISPP Dietetic Internship table when they walked through our demonstrations and interacted with our activities. These stamps went on a participant bingo card, which entered them for a chance to win a door prize if they visited each table in the waiting area. Our first activity at our table was Kaylyn’s “Fast Food Quiz”, which was very intriguing to everyone at the event. Our second interactive, hands-on activity was a portion exercise I created. I had two bowls displayed in front of a bowl of rice. The purpose was to have participants portion out how much they thought a normal portion of brown rice was, then portion the appropriate amount into the other bowl to compare the two bowls side-by-side. Only four people tried the activity so, maybe next time I try to implement something like this again, I should include directions displayed for participants to see so there’s no confusion. Overall, the event was a real success for the WVU ISPP. Everyone seemed really open and receptive to the information we were providing to them.

Two-thirds of the ISPP Dietetic Internship ready to promote nutrition literacy!

Two-thirds of the ISPP Dietetic Internship ready to promote nutrition literacy!

 

Portion Distortion!!

Portion Distortion!!

 

Educating a participant on portions and serving sizes. Most people were quite surprised about the size of a "typical" dinner plate and its effects on portion control.

Educating a participant on portions and serving sizes. Most people were quite surprised about the size of a “typical” dinner plate and its effects on portion control.

 

WVU ISPP Dietetic Internship!!

WVU ISPP Dietetic Internship!!

 

An up-close look at our table and handouts!

An up-close look at our table and handouts!

 

 

Love Your Heart Fun Lunch Set-Up

Love Your Heart (The Before)

I got to sneak a picture of the sign when you enter the 2nd floor of the WVU Heart Institute

I got to sneak a picture of the sign when you enter the 2nd floor of the WVU Heart Institute

On Friday February 1st, the ISPP and GDI Interns were asked to come to the WVU Heart Institute to set up for the upcoming event that was taking place the next day. Elaine Bowen, a WVU Extension Specialist, asked us to attend the “Love Your Heart Fun Lunch” event. This event is a free health screening fair that participants attend, on a first come, first serve basis. The day before the event, volunteers and coordinators took time out of their day to prepare for the health screening extravaganza. Volunteers from the School of Nursing and the School of Pharmacy, from WVU’s Health Sciences campus (HSC), were in attendance at the set up event. It was communicated that we, “nutrition people”, arrive to start help setting up at 5pm on that Friday. Well, since there was only two ISPP Dietetic Interns (including myself) that were going to be responsible for our “Community Nutrition” table, I told Kaylyn (the other ISPP Dietetic Intern) that I would go to the set up event. I did this because there really was no reason to have two people setting up our table. I arrived with my materials, posters, handouts, and other nutrition equipment and waited for instructions, with other students from HSC. To my surprise, when introductions from coordinators started to begin, I was introduced to the whole group of students because I was the only nutrition person who arrived to set up prior to the event. The GDI Interns were administering the screening process (meal planning) of the health fair and the ISPP Interns were responsible for a “Community Nutrition” table in the waiting area for participants to interact with and gain a little more health-related information. Since I was the only nutrition person to attend the event set-up, this gave me a few opportunities to take time to meet everyone that was involved in the planning and organizing of the event. The coordinators provided everyone with an itinerary and a map of the heart screening. The coordinators also shared with the group a Proclamation signed by the Governor of West Virginia, which was my first time seeing anything like that before. Then, the other volunteers were given a tour of each station of the heart screening maze for the next day. Since the ISPP Dietetic Internship table was in the waiting area with other community partners, like the School of Dentistry and EMS, I opted to help others move furniture and carry items inside from coordinator’s cars. I actually ended up getting the ISPP table set up fairly quick so, I helped with anything that anyone needed help with. Overall, I’m glad I came to set up because it made the next morning less stressful for Kaylyn and I. I also had the opportunity to network with other students and faculty in WVU health-related fields.

heart setup_itin

heart setup_itinn

heart setup_itinnn

Starting from the left side of our "community Nutrition" table

Starting from the left side of our “Community Nutrition” table

The middle section of our table- pre-event status

The middle section of our table- pre-event status

And the right side of our table. The only piece to this puzzle that was missing was Kaylyn's "Fast Food Quiz", which she brought the next mooring.

And the right side of our table. The only piece to this puzzle that was missing was Kaylyn’s “Fast Food Quiz”, which she brought the next morning.

A visual I created for participants to realize what the MyPlate actually looks like, compared to an actual oversized plate that most Americans use in their home on a daily rate.

A visual I created for participants to realize what the MyPlate actually looks like, compared to an actual oversized plate that most Americans use in their home on a daily basis.

The volunteer's map of the heart screen- to look over in case participants need help finding stations the next day.

The volunteer’s map of the heart screen- to look over in case participants need help finding stations the next day.

Overall- what the ISPP Dietetic Internship Community Nutrition table looked like the night before the event took place!

Overall- what the ISPP Dietetic Internship Community Nutrition table looked like the night before the event took place!