Posts Tagged: nutrition
Ritchie to lead Nutrition Policy Institute
I am pleased to announce that after a nationwide search we have selected Lorrene Ritchie to serve as the inaugural director of the Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI), effective Feb. 18. She will also be a UC Cooperative Extension specialist.
NPI is a new institute within UC ANR, with the mission of improving nutrition and reducing obesity, hunger and chronic disease risk in children and their families in diverse settings. The institute and its director will provide statewide nutrition policy leadership for ANR's research and education activities and will work in synergy with research and outreach efforts being conducted in Davis and Berkeley campus departments and colleges and throughout the UC system.
Ritchie brings to this new position her vast experience in applying research to policy and working with UC Cooperative Extension advisors and specialists, UC faculty and others involved in nutrition-related research and education. With her years of applied research being recognized for having a high evaluation standard and policy implications at state and national levels, she is highly respected in the nutrition field. She has testified before state and federal legislature with the ability to translate complex issues into realistic and necessary solutions for decision makers.
Ritchie has served since 2005 as associate researcher and director of research at the Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight and Health at UC Berkeley. She provided leadership and coordinated research efforts at the center, collaborating with an extensive network of multidisciplinary researchers, program delivery experts and policy advocates to support evidence-based policy and practice initiatives in nutrition and obesity prevention. As a principal investigator, she directed research projects funded at approximately $4 million and supervised many concurrent research project teams.
From 2000 to 2005, Ritchie worked as assistant researcher and project director for the center preparing grant proposals and conducting research. She prepared over 50 grant proposals to federal and private funding sources at the center. She has held teaching positions including adjunct assistant professor for two years at Samuel Merritt College's Intercollegiate Nursing Program, and lecturer for five years at UC Berkeley in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology.
Ritchie earned a B.S. in chemistry from San Jose State University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in nutritional sciences, both from UC Berkeley. She is also a registered dietitian.
We are so fortunate to have Dr. Ritchie to launch the NPI. She will be based in Oakland, but she will be traveling frequently to collaborate with colleagues throughout the state as well as with federal entities. I hope you will join me in welcoming her to ANR.
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"I went to our local Winco grocery story (without coupons) on Saturday and priced a week's worth of groceries," Balbach wrote. "I was over budget by 6 cents."
She said the government "is not teaching our disadvantaged how to cook, shop or budget."
In today's letters to the Fresno Bee, Kristen Stenger, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Fresno County, pointed out that UCCE nutrition educators teach low-income families how to eat, budget, shop and cook via the UC CalFresh Program and Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program. The classes are supported by the USDA.
"The Plan, Shop, Save and Cook curriculum teaches budgeting, shopping, and cooking to help grow healthy families. Eating Smart, Being Active curriculum is also used. It pairs nutrition education, meal planning, and money management with physical activity. Over the last year these programs taught over 40,000 adults and youth about nutrition and healthy living in Fresno County," Stenger wrote.
"We are in the midst of a youth diabetes epidemic that is perpetuated by all of these sugary drinks," said Harold Goldstein, one of the report's authors and the executive director at the California Center for Public Health Advocacy.
Research cited in the policy brief found that the percent of children under the age of 12 who drink at least one sugar-sweetened beverage per day dropped between 2005 and 2012, however sugar beverage consumption increased among adolescents. Even in groups where sugar-sweetened beverage consumption declined between 2000 and 2010, the drinks continue to be a significant contributor to total caloric intake, especially for children and adolescents.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Andrew Creasey noted in the story that UC Cooperative Extension in Yuba and Sutter counties is helping teenagers understand the high level of sugar in their favorite beverages by displaying white sugar in the equivalent quantities.
"It's pretty shocking for them to see how much sugar is in these beverages," said UCCE nutrition educator Chelsey Slattery. "We talk about the health effects, the potential weight gain and how it can lead to diabetes and heart issues."
Slattery and her colleagues also teach students how to read a food label and how to be wary of advertisements.
"Sunny Delight has things like a sun and an orange on its label that make you think it's a healthy beverage, but it's only 5 percent juice," Slattery said.
Slattery encourages students to drink 100 percent juice, milk or water, the article said.
Nutritionally, preserved fruits and vegetables can be equivalent or superior to fresh, said Diane Barrett, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis.
By the time a stalk of broccoli makes it from the farm to the supermarket to your refrigerator, it has already lost some of its nutritional value. "Fruits and vegetables are frozen within hours of harvest, so that actually allows you to retain those nutrients," Barrett said.
Barrett's analyses show that vitamin C, fiber, potassium and zinc remain intact during the freezing process. Blanching before freezing may make vitamins A and E more digestible.
Mother Jones senior editor Kiera Butler turned to Carl Winter, also a UCCE specialist in the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis, for information about pesticide residue in fresh and processed food.
Processed fruits and vegetables generally have less pesticide residue than fresh conventional produce, Winter said. This is because some fruits and vegetables are washed in a machine that jostles them around to remove dirt and debris before they are processed. Some are also blanched and peeled.
Our ANR Strategic Vision was developed to address the numerous complex challenges facing California. Nutrition is one of the more complex problems, ranging from overnutrition to undernutrition, both linked to social-economic, science-health literacy, ethnic-cultural influences and individual and environmental barriers. The nutrition landscape can be improved through research, education and policy.
To address the critical nutrition issues that are impacting California, our nation and the world, ANR is launching the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI). This unit will work closely with the Youth, Families and Communities Statewide Program, which implements Cooperative Extension education and research programs systemwide, integrating with our Strategic Initiatives. NPI will provide nutrition policy leadership built from our numerous ongoing research and education activities. This group will work in synergy with research and outreach efforts being conducted in Davis and Berkeley campus departments and colleges and throughout the UC system.
ANR has begun recruitment for a Cooperative Extension specialist to serve as the inaugural director, providing leadership and operational management of NPI. We seek a visionary leader who can bring together a variety of diverse partners and stakeholders to successfully compete for extramural funding at state and national levels. The director will serve as a key ANR spokesperson on nutrition and health-related issues and a collaborator who can promote interdisciplinary efforts in nutrition research with other UC campus-based researchers, USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and other federal and state nutrition programs, Cooperative Extension community-based nutrition education programs and the ANR Strategic Initiative leaders.
Ideal candidates will have a Ph.D. with experience in promoting interdisciplinary efforts in nutrition education, research and policy at different levels. The NPI director will be based in Oakland, travel weekly to the new ANR Headquarters in Davis and report to Associate Vice President Bill Frost. The full position description is posted on the ANR website at http://ucanr.edu/Jobs/Jobs_990/?jobnum=484.