Today in a unique Web cast, the International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC Foundation) along with the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), teamed up to discuss their visions of how the current food and health environment will affect the way we eat in the future and how these professionals can help consumers use food to have a positive impact on their health.
“As a registered dietitian, I know that consumers need healthful, realistic, and achievable food solutions,” said Jessie Pavlinac, MS, RD, CSR, LD, who is the current President of the ADA. “From childhood obesity to determining foods served in schools and hospitals to caring for our aging population, dietitians will be an integral part of educating consumers and others on ways to improve their health through the food decisions they make everyday.”
Food science and technology plays an important role in the ongoing convergence of food, nutrition, and health. Roger Clemens, DrPH and IFT President-Elect Designate said, “Food science and technology are behind every aspect of the food-to-fork continuum, providing the foundation for overall health and wellness. Food scientists are working with other professionals, like dietitians, to help create realistic food solutions for consumers. We can expect to see an increase in the variety of healthful food options, reflecting nutrition recommendations, available in the future.”
Elizabeth Rahavi, RD, Associate Director of Health and Wellness at the IFIC Foundation noted that Americans are primed for actionable advice about food and health. Yet she also said, “We must find innovative ways to motivate people to act and sustain beneficial lifestyle changes. Partnerships are critical to helping consumers achieve real change in their diets and lifestyles.”
An Outlook for the Future of Food
o A Focus On Prevention-- In an effort to assist consumers in enjoying and living their lives to the fullest, an increased focus on prevention of chronic disease will be critical, with the role of achieving a healthful diet and active lifestyle receiving more emphasis. Minimized healthcare costs and aging well will be the potential outcomes of these efforts.
o Increased Access to Dietitians-- To realize the vision of a healthier nation, registered dietitians will be an instrumental conduit to giving people the much needed advice they seek to make dietary changes to improve their health. Dietitians will be providing more guidance and will have greater influence on community-based programs, such as those addressing childhood obesity.
o Increased Role for Food Science-- Food scientists provide food options that allow consumers to have a variety of choices that match their lifestyles. And as federal dietary regulations move forward, food scientists will be even more poised to provide consumers with food choices that can assist them in attaining a healthful lifestyle.
o The Need for More Research-- Nutrition and food science will continue to evolve and intersect, but the need for continued research will be necessary to gain insights into understanding consumers’ behavioral influences when making diet and lifestyle choices. Research will provide the answers to assist policymakers, health professionals, food scientists, and many others in meeting the needs of the consumer.
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