Good nutrition plays an important role in your daily life. A well-balanced and nutritious diet is part of the foundation of maintaining peak performance and good health.

Consequently, nutrition is a focal point of the Culture of Health Campaign. Consider the following:
- Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
- Don't eat after 7 p.m.
- Only eat carbs in the morning.
- You need more protein to gain muscle.
- Don't eat anything with ingredients you can't pronounce.

Which statements are true? How do you know?

Nutrition information and misinformation is everywhere, including right here at Fort Leonard Wood. This can be extremely frustrating when you want to implement nutrition changes into your lifestyle.
Eating right plays a key role in daily life, though you may not feel its impact regularly.

Good nutrition habits can reduce disease risk, optimize athletic performance and training, improve focus and concentration, and benefit overall feelings of wellness and energy levels.

Nutrition is also one of the three pillars of the Army�s Performance Triad, a comprehensive plan to improve the overall readiness and health of the force and their Families, which also includes sleep and activity.

Although the importance of eating right is common knowledge, it is still a challenge to make nutrition changes and know where to start or look for help.

General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital has a team of nutrition subject matter experts; registered dietitian nutritionists at the Nutrition Care Division who offer services and resources to assist in nutrition and lifestyle changes.

NCD offers group classes and one-on-one individual appointments. Topics include: diabetes, heart healthy nutrition, healthy eating, weight management for active duty and Family members and individual appointments that may cover all topics or conditions impacted by nutrition.

Additional areas include nutrition for athletic performance, anti-inflammatory nutrition and nutrition during injury rehabilitation.

Dietitians offer group briefings to all training and permanent-party units on post, as well as all Department of Defense organizations. Topics include: performance nutrition, healthy eating, weight management, Performance Triad, eating out and any specific topic tailored to the group.
Registered dietitian nutritionists staff the Nutrition Care Division. RDs or RDNs are health professionals who have completed at least a four-year degree in nutrition and dietetics, often followed by a master degree, completed 1,200 hours of supervised practice and passed a nationally accredited board exam.

They translate the science of nutrition into everyday information about food and ensure all recommendations and guidance are evidenced based. The title nutritionist is not as regulated or protected by law in most countries as dietitian is.

A nutritionist is a non-accredited title that may apply to an individual with a nutrition degree or to individuals who has merely given themselves this title. Nutritionists with degrees may work in the field of research, food technology, food science or health promotion, but most do not have any professional practical medical training.

Since unqualified individuals have used the title nutritionist in the past, people should be careful when choosing a professional for nutrition advice and counseling.

Only TRICARE beneficiaries may schedule to attend the group classes and one-on-one appointments at the NCD clinic. However, all organizations on post can request the dietitian to visit and conduct a group briefing for their department or staff to include DOD civilians and contractors.

In the next year, NCD hopes to offer an expanded weight management program along with live cooking demonstration classes.

For more information about NCD, to schedule an appointment or schedule a group/unit class, call 573.596.0131, ext. 61762. More information about NCD and about the entire Culture of Health Campaign at Caution-www.wood.army.mil/newweb/healthpromotions.html.

(Editor's note: Bolido is the Nutrition Care Division chief, General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital.)