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Advice for a healthy diet

November 1, 2016

Jawz gets tips for nutrition.

Students from the dietetics internship program helped provide Jawz with tips about eating healthy. The program answers questions for the campus community through the Dietitian's Dish site. | PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SCHOOL OF HEALTH AND REHABILITATION SCIENCES

Campus employees interested in improving their health habits are about to get some assistance with their diet and nutrition issues with the launch of the Dietitian's Dish website.

The site is part of a partnership between the Office of Health and Wellness Promotion and the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and will be based in the Division of Student Affairs web domain.

Dietitian's Dish will give 16 students from the school's dietetics internship program an opportunity to use their academic knowledge to provide answers about diet, nutrition and other food-related concerns that are posted on the website.

Dietitian's Dish was conceived by the partners to meet a campus need for diet- and nutrition-related assistance for staff, faculty and students. Shawnte Elbert, director of health and wellness, connected with School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences faculty member Sara Blackburn to set up the website and the structure of the program.

"The person who did a lot of the work was Megan McDermett, who graduated from Health and Rehabilitation Sciences last year," Elbert said. "She spent four weeks in our office thinking up ways to convey accurate information to campus stakeholders who wanted help."

Elbert is familiar with similar programs from her past affiliations, and she quickly learned that the school was interested in developing another outlet for interns to gain experience.

"Our office gets a lot of questions about diet and nutrition concerns, but we don't yet have the resources for a full-time person," she said. A group of students from the dietetics internship program, with faculty oversight, offered "a good bridge" to provide answers to faculty, staff and student questions. The questions will be posted anonymously, and Elbert expects Dietitian's Dish to build a database of tips and advice to form FAQs available on the website.

The site offers a solid foundation for Dietitian's Dish, Elbert said. The question-and-answer portion is expected to go live this semester.

"Because it's new, we don't know how popular it will be," Elbert said. Initially, she expects the site to be monitored on a weekly basis. "But if it goes really well, we'll adjust accordingly," she added.

Elbert noted that the availability of diet and nutrition information is vital for the health and wellness of the campus. The new site fits well with the Health and Wellness Promotion page that offers information about mindful eating, reading nutrition labels, smart shopping and other tips.

"Data from the state shows that Indiana has a high obesity rate," she said. "We want to make sure that we do all we can to help the campus overcome unhealthy behaviors and develop healthy habits."

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