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Spreading knowledge to promote safer, healthier diets in communities through shopping tours

My name is Christina M. Davis. I am a Nutritionist and dietetic intern with The Georgia Department of Public Health Women, Infants, and Children’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program (WIC). In my profession, I teach people about the benefits of eating a healthy diet. This year I attended a training provided by the Georgia Coalition on Physical Activity and Nutrition (GPAN) and Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters, to gain the skills needed to host a shopping tour.

In honor of Food Day, I hosted a shopping tour at a grocery store for individuals in Columbus, Georgia and surrounding areas. Those who participated in the tour were community and church leaders, local medical office staff, nutritionists, dietetic interns, a lactation consultant, and members of a social organization.

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Whiddon, S. (Photographer). (2015, October 23). Columbus, GA

The tour helped participants learn how to choose healthy, affordable foods. As we toured the store, we discussed the benefits of fruits, vegetables, dairy, proteins, and grains and we identified quality foods from each food group. The participants compared the cost of similar food items to help them purchase nutritious food and stay within their budget. Shoppers also learned how to compare food labels. They used the food labels to identify the ingredients of a product and to compare fat, sodium, and sugar content. These activities helped participants learn to select healthier foods and limit ingredients that may contribute to obesity-related diseases. Many shoppers were instantly impacted by the tour. For example, after learning about the benefits of whole grains, one of the shoppers immediately made a healthy choice by purchasing whole wheat bread instead of white bread.  

This shopping tour helped participants understand the importance of nutrition education and health promotion. Shoppers said they would begin to choose healthier options when shopping in the future. As an effort to promote healthier, safer diets, I encourage all public health professionals and people of the community to launch initiatives like Food Day and grocery store tours to promote the benefits of choosing healthy food. Anyone can host a shopping tour! To learn more about how you can partner with Share Our Strength’s Cooking Matters to host a shopping tour in your community visit http://cookingmatters.org/at-the-store or send an email to cookingmatters@strength.org.

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Whiddon, S. (Photographer). (2015, October 23). Columbus, GA

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