The New "Food Rock Stars"

We're just back from Savannah, Georgia and Oldways' Second Annual Supermarket Dietitian Symposium that we organized with Barb Ruhs from Bashas'. More about the Symposium to follow below, but first a word about Savannah.  Savannah is a fabulous town with more than just beautiful historic squares, a riverfront, and the Garden of Good and Evil.  It's a food town, and far from just Paula Deen food, y'all.  The city is full of foods to embrace and adore and the restaurant scene is terrific -- we had spectacular dinners at both Local11Ten and Elizabeth on 37th.  Plus, our hotel, The Mansion on Forsyth Park produced incredible meals with tons of vegetables and whole grains for more 75 conference goers.

You can read more about our Symposium on What's New at Oldways and later this month on the Oldways events page, but for now, here are a few very interesting tidbits and facts gathered from the Supermarket Dietitian Symposium, that underscore the great need for Supermarket dietitians.

Did you know.....

  • 37% of Americans "do social media" while eating, and almost half (47%) of younger people "do social media" while they eat.
  • 1 in 5 Americans don't eat anything before 11 am.
  • 93% of Americans say breakfast is important, but only 44% actually eat it.
  • 50% of Americans cannot identify 6 or more heart-healthy foods on a list of 13.  But the other 50% can!
  • Fruit and vegetable consumption is going down for teens and adults over 65, but it's going up for adults under 45 and for kids under 12!
  • 1 in 3 kids are overweight or obese.
  • 1 in 3 kids are getting food assistance.
  • 1 in 5 kids are at risk for hunger.
  • Each supermarket dietitian reaches between 1 and 10 million customers.

While I agree with Lisa Sutherland, who spoke on childhood obesity at our event, that there is much hope these days about food and nutrition in America, I also believe these facts are a renewed call to action.  They point to the important role that supermarkets, Oldways and other like-minded organizations can play in improving the lives of people everywhere, particularly if we all work together for a common cause.

With Americans making, on average, 61 trips per household per year to the grocery store, it's very clear supermarkets and supermarket dietitians can make a big difference in educating consumers about nutrition and healthier eating.  Look out chefs: supermarket dietitians are the new "food rock stars!"

--Sara

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