MU dietetics students help low-income families eat healthier

4 months 4 weeks 2 days ago November 22, 2016 Nov 22, 2016 Tuesday, November 22 2016 Tuesday, November 22, 2016 3:18:00 PM CST in News
By: Hannah Husmann, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA — A new hands-on program benefiting dietetics students and low-income families is on the horizon for MU. 

The university announced Monday that the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology received a $100,000 gift from the Bee Payne-Stewart Foundation.

"It provides for five years, financial support for a part-time dietitian to work at the Family Impact Center," said Chris Hardin, chair of the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology.

The MU Family Impact Center educates those in need on financial literacy, life skills and other unmet needs among low-income populations. Hardin says dietetics counseling was not previously included in the services offered. 

"With their broad range of services, one of the things they wanted to include was dietetics, but we simply did not have the funds to put a dietitian over there, even part-time," Hardin said. 

The dietitian appointed will assume a supervising position over dietetics students that provide the counseling service.

"Our dietetics students get to practice in a real life setting giving dietary assessment and dietary counseling to patients who otherwise wouldn't have access to that," Hardin said.

Hardin said education on maintaining healthy eating habits with certain illnesses is important.

"They may have diabetes, they may have kidney disease, and they may not know what the appropriate food choices are to help them deal with these diseases," he said.

For five years, $15,000 annually of the gift will go toward supporting the registered dietitian at the MU Family Impact Center. The other $5,000 annually for the next five years will be dedicated to simulation training where dietetics students are assessed on their ability to consult and interact with patients. 

Hardin said the money will start to be utilized in the summer of 2017.

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