'Eat your veggies,' say two alums

Your mother probably told you to eat your vegetables. And you probably did, if only to ensure getting dessert.

But who tells adults what they and their children should eat? The U.S. government, for one, does in its just-released 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Recommendations are based on advice from nutrition experts, including two RIT alumni who were among five members of the American Dietetic Association on the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.

Penny Kris-Etherton '71 (medical dietetics), now Distinguished Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Penn State University, served as chair of the fatty-acid subcommittee and on the alcohol subcommittee.

"We used a rigorous science-based approach related to recommendations for specific nutrients and foods," says Kris-Etherton. "We considered all ages over 2 years."

After attending RIT, Kris-Etherton went on to earn master's and doctoral degrees in nutrition. "I have fond memories of RIT and the valuable experiences I gained," she adds. "RIT provided me with a sound knowledge base in nutrition and dietetics."

Theresa Nicklas '79 (general dietetics and nutrition care), professor of pediatrics in the Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, lent her expertise on children's nutrition to the nutrient adequacy and fatty-acid committees.

"Every time the committee started talking about adult recommendations, I would interject by saying, 'What about the children?'" explains Nicklas, who, after graduating from RIT, earned a master's degree and
a Ph.D., both in public health.
Theresa Nicklas

The new guidelines place greater emphasis on the consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains—foods naturally high in nutrients and low in calories. A healthy-eating philosophy is stressed through 41 scientifically based dietary recommendations aiming to reduce therisk for major chronic diseases. Keys to healthy living include eating a variety of foods in moderation, watching portion sizes and engaging in regular physical activity.

The guidelines, revised every five years by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture, set the nation's policy direction in nutrition programs, research, education, food assistance, labeling and promotion. The agriculture department is expected to unveil a revised "food pyramid" this spring.

To learn more, visit www.healthierus.gov/dietaryguidelines. And eat your fruits, vegetables and whole grains—two RIT graduates say so!

RIT News & Events, January 27, 2005