The purpose of Food Day is to reduce diet-related disease by promoting healthy foods, support sustainable farms and cut subsidies to big agribusiness, expand access to food and alleviate hunger, protect the environment and animals by reforming factory farms, and promote health by curbing junk-food marketing to kids. AMSA hopes to education and empowerment students to address these issues in their local communities. For more information go to www.foodday.org.
ENGAGE YOUR COMMUNITY: Food Day Activities
Set up a Farmer’s Market at your School or Hospital
– Farmers’ Markets and CSAs on Hospital Grounds: resource from Health Care without Harm that includes benefits of Farmers’ Markets on hospital grounds and steps to establishing one
– Kaiser Permanente’s Farmer’s Market Resource Guide: the story of Kaiser Permanente’s Farmers’ Markets and Farm Stands
– Produce to the People: case study of the first Farmers’ Market linked to a hospital
Promote No Soda Day
Plan a “No Soda Day” at your school to speak out against the detrimental effects of liquid sugar on our children, our country, and the obesity epidemic. Organize AMSA members to refrain from drinking carbonated beverages in an effort to increase awareness about the negative effects of soda.
Teach Nutrition through Cooking classes
Studies have shown that nutrition education at medical schools is inadequate. To address this, AMSA members have already begun engaging their own communities and teaching both their own classmates and community members. Use their examples provided below, connect with others hoping to put on nutrition classes, or create your own program.
Healthy Starts at Home
Students at Drexel University have started a nutrition program called Healthy Starts at Home to help families in Philadelphia improve their health through healthy meals and exercise. The program has two parts. In the first part, first year medical students at Drexel complete nutrition classes. In the second part, first year medical students who have completed the nutrition course, go out into the community and conduct general nutrition education presentation and cooking demonstrations. These presentations include topics like carbohydrates, fats, proteins, calories, reading food labels, eating more fruits and vegetables, and more. In their second year, these same medical students begin to work with individuals and families, helping them incorporate and personalize the information that first year medical students teach in their presentations. A presentation about fats may mean something different to someone with atherosclerosis or a history of heart failure, than to someone with a family history of heart disease, than to someone without any risk factors, and this personalization helps make the presentations relevant and applicable to everyone.
The program emphasizes the importance of students working with community members instead of being an authority speaking down to them. The goal is to create a dialogue, where students serve as a resource to help community members make healthy decisions within the context of their own lives. In the future, these students hope to develop an online presentation or webinar to help train other students to continue the program at Drexel and make it available for students at other schools to put on in their own communities.