Beauty and Richness of Food in Own Lives and Cultures

By: Janet Leader, MPH, RD, Associate Director of Nutrition Services, Department of Community Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health

With all of the buzz on campus about nutrition, I’m excited to teach a resurrected course this spring:  CHS 130, Nutrition and Health.

Here’s what I hope will happen in the class.

Students will take a look at the beauty and richness of food in their own lives and cultures.  From there, they will share their cultural choices with others, and learn why those choices are so important to them.  They will explore the basic concepts of nutrition and apply them to their own lives and real-world issues.

Using outside readings and films, students will come to class prepared to discuss controversies and conduct activities that will allow them to analyze their own diets and those of others.  They will recognize the changes that occurs in all of us as we move from being an infant to youth to adult and then to our senior years.  What are the changes in nutritional requirements as we move through these stages in our lives?  What are the healthiest way to meet those requirements?

We will also discuss how our behaviors and environments influence what we eat.  Why and how does it matter if you grow up in South LA vs. Santa Monica?  What changes are happening in our eating environment, both for the worse and for the better?  How can we make a difference in those changes?  Visiting community programs that apply nutrition and behavior theory, and inviting interesting guest speakers will excite more discussion.

I look forward to sharing my enjoyment of nutrition sciences and food with the UCLA students.  While the class is currently full with a waiting list, it will also be offered in the summer.

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