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Fuel for the Future: NACCHO celebrates National Nutrition Month®: Focusing on the Future Generation

Mar 01, 2023 | Talei Moore, Aisha Freeman

March is National Nutrition Month®, an annual campaign by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics which highlights the importance of making informed food choices across the lifespan. The theme this year, “Fuel for the Future”, emphasizes the importance of eating sustainably to nourish our bodies throughout each phase of life and to protect our environment. NACCHO has worked on fueling the future by focusing on the earlier phases of the life cycle, the first 1,000 days. We are celebrating by sharing newly created early childhood nutrition resources and hosting a webinar highlighting our latest work with public health nutritionists and community stakeholders.

NACCHO has also joined the USDA’s National Strategic Partnership and has been supporting the CDC and the USDA by promoting the Infant and Toddler Nutrition chapter of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines. Based on these guidelines, NACCHO has co-developed culturally responsive infant and toddler nutrition materials for Chinese, Vietnamese, African American, and Latinx communities.

The first 1,000 days of a child’s life, the period from pregnancy to two years of age, is a powerful window of opportunity as it relates to nutrition as it has a long-term impact on the future health and development of both children and society. Optimal nutrition during the first 1,000 days sets the foundation for healthy brain development as the brain grows the fastest during this time period compared to other developmental periods1. Additionally, fostering a positive feeding environment during this time helps reduce the risk of obesity and associated chronic diseases. An intentional focus and investment on the first 1,000 days can significantly improve a person’s ability to grow, learn, and thrive.

Through the CDC funded Reducing Breastfeeding Disparities through Continuity of Care project, NACCHO in 2022 convened three regional meetings and one national meeting with public health nutrition partners, community members, and other public health experts to identify solutions to advance nutrition security among infants and toddlers in communities of color. The result was a comprehensive report of current interventions and public health programs, sustainable solutions, and suggestions on how to best partner with and support Black/Brown, Indigenous, communities of color in achieving optimal nutrition outcomes for infants and toddlers. Key findings highlighted in the report include:

  • “Eating is a family, and community, business,” underscoring the need to ensure any approach embraces this broader concept of family and includes all who help care for the child.
  • Increase awareness around aggressive unhealthy food marketing that targets BIPOC communities, especially for sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Encourage culturally responsive family meals and tap into the resources people have access to.

    NACCHO is pleased to invite you as we release our Early Childhood Nutrition Convenings report and culturally diverse nutrition materials during The First 1,000 Days Nutrition: Improving Nutrition Security for Infants and Toddlers in Communities of Color webinar on Thursday, March 16, 2023, at 1:00 pm ET. To register, click here.

Continuing Professional Education Units (CPEUs) are pending approval.

References

  1. Building brains. 1,000 Days. (2022). Retrieved from https://thousanddays.org/why-1...
  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-20251–164 (2020). Retrieved from Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025

About Talei Moore

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About Aisha Freeman

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