By Ms. Felecia DispenseMarch 28, 2019
VICENZA, Italy - March is National Nutrition Month, a chance to promote nutrition education and outreach initiatives. It also serves to highlight the importance of registered dietitians as nutrition experts, certified authorities on evidence-based recommendations and providers of credible nutrition information.
Currently, the Army has approximately 200 registered dietitians. Army dietitians are well-established leaders in nutrition fields of research, combat readiness, medical nutrition therapy, and Soldier food service operations. Before starting a fad diet, consider consulting with an expert in the field.
Nutrition effects our everyday lives and the readiness of our military. Recent studies have shown an increased prevalence of obesity-related medical profiles affecting deployment status and increasing Department of Defense healthcare spending. Subsequently, military dietitians and the DOD are promoting health initiatives such as Go for Green (G4G) and Operation Supplement Safety (OPSS). These programs are looking to reshape the food environment for the military community and provide up-to-date information regarding dietary supplements on the market today.
There are many resources and programs available for Soldiers and their families here on Caserma Ederle, Del-Din and throughout the Army. Many installations offer health promotion clinics and expert nutrition counseling free of cost.
So whether in honor of National Nutrition Month or you are rethinking a New Year's resolution, military RDs are here to assist you in identifying the steps needed to reach your nutrition goals.
Capt. Cara Beavert, registered dietitian at the U.S. Army Health Clinic Vicenza, offers classes for TRICARE beneficiaries on healthy eating, supplement awareness, and even a walking commissary seminar the second Thursday of each month to discuss how to get past deceptive labels and making healthy and economical choices when shopping.
"I love seeing patients one on one and also getting out into the community to teach classes, give presentations, and host nutrition booths at various events," said Beavert.
Women, Infant and Children services, commonly known as WIC, are also available for eligible community members. The WIC office is located on Caserma Ederle, next to the fitness center and has its own RD who sees women and their children up to the age of five.
Ms. Felecia Dispense is a senior at the University of Alabama pursuing a Bachelor's of Science degree in Food and Nutrition. She is currently an intern at the USAHC-Vicenza through the Didactic Program in Dietetics. She is anticipated to graduate in May 2019.