On August 23rd in Washington DC, I had the honor of sharing my perspective entitled: How
and Mobile Technologies Are Changing Nutrition Education
 at the Perspectives on Nutrition and Aging: A National Summit hosted by the National Resource Center on Nutrition and Aging. Click below to view a clip of my speech: 


I want to thank the National Aging Network for bringing us together to discuss our different ideas and to find ways that we can collectively work to improve senior nutrition services in this country and work to end senior hunger.

I also want to thank the hardworking staff at the National Resource Center for making us feel welcome and for making sure the entire event went off without a hitch. They certainly are a dedicated team!

If you missed the conference, you can review highlights on Twitter: #nutritiondc2012. 

I was also joined by Dietetic Intern, Charmaine Jones. Here is her perspective of the historic day:

Marci and Charmaine PerspectivedLate last month, I joined ShopWell’s Head Dietitian, Marci Harnischfeger MS RD at the Perspectives of Nutrition and Aging: A National Summit where the Administration of Aging was celebrating its 40th anniversary of the Older Americans Act nutrition programs. The summit began with an extraordinary video on the history of federal nutrition programs that provides hot and nutritious meals to millions of older adults across America such as the Meals of Wheels Association of America. A broad array of dynamic speakers such as Kathy Greenlee, Administrator of Administration for Community Living and Assistant Secretary for Aging, Dr. David L. Katz, Director and Co-Founder Yale Prevention Research Center, and other panelists spoke about their perspectives on how to improve the health of older Americans.

Technology is rapidly changing the ways of health care. Older adults can obtain simple and easy to understand health and nutrition information right from their personal computers or smartphones. In her speech, Marci stated that “people 65 years and older spend over 3 hours a day surfing the internet.” “Out of 13,000 apps on a smartphone; 2,000 of them focus on nutrition and health education," stated David Lindeman, Director of Center for Technology and Aging. With technology, seniors will have the opportunity to engage in selecting foods that help meet their nutrient needs. 

As you know, ShopWell is an online tool that makes it easier to select healthier foods in the grocery store. Because ShopWell is personalized, people of any age or with any medical condition can eat better. Part of making healthier choices is reading food labels and knowing what ingredients you are getting ready to ingest. There are many individuals, especially older adults who do not understand food labels. In fact, “only 55 percent of individuals understand half or less of the ingredients in foods they purchase” stated Marci. A good example of this is when a presenter shared a story of how a woman with diabetes complained to her dietitian of not being able to eat green beans because she couldn’t find “diet green beans” in grocery stores. In this case, clearly, a registered dietitian was needed to provide proper nutrition education on weight loss and diabetic diets. However, this woman could have also been less frustrated, if she knew of reliable health and nutrition online sources or apps like ShopWell

This, too, was the first time that technology in general was incorporated into the National Summit. Participants who listened in on the conference or watch it “live” via the computer were able to submit questions by text, e-mail and tweet. Yep. This was the only way participants were able to ask questions and engage in a two way discussion. As you can see, technology is now being used in every way imaginable.

I would like to thank Marci and the ShopWell team for giving me the opportunity to attend this dynamic Summit and allowing me to tweet on their behalf. I was so excited to learn about the new programs that are being implemented across America to help older adults and look forward to learning more about how technology has advanced by next’s year Summit.

-Charmaine Jones, Dietetic Intern