Applying Nutrition Education in Community Health Nursing
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A primary role of the community health nurse is to work in partnership with community agencies and population groups to reduce health risks and promote health (American Nurses Association, 2007). Appropriate and adequate nutrition is a cornerstone of good health. According to national statistics, the health of Americans continues to deteriorate due to poor nutrition, even though billions of dollars are spent on food assistance and education programs for citizens every year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collects extensive information about trends in nutrition health habits in the United States through the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, (NHANES). These data are reflected in the Healthy People 2020 objectives for the nation regarding the prevalence of chronic disease, poor nutrition, and obesity. The federal Food and Nutrition Service administers the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) food assistance programs, and is committed to improving the health and nutrition of low income Americans. Nurses interested in health promotion and the public health need to lead the charge in seeking effective change in nutrition policy at the federal level in order to promote food security and better nutrition. The United States Department of Agriculture predicts that 90 billion dollars a year could be saved in medical costs, lost productivity, and lost lives if Americans ate healthier diets. One approach to improving nutrition for those experiencing food insecurity is the food safety net. This paper describes the nation's food safety net, gives a "state of the science" review of outcome-based research of these programs, and suggests changes in the approach to education for low income populations using the Nurse Coach Model.