For 100 years, on behalf of dairy farmers and the dairy community, National Dairy Council (NDC) has been committed to nutrition research and education with an emphasis on child health and wellness. NDC’s nutrition education program started in 1915, sparked by Dr. E.V. McCollum’s discovery of vitamin A in milk and the need for improved nutrition especially among children. Since then, NDC has helped launch pioneering programs that have benefited generations of children and adults, including the now retired K-10 nutrition education curriculum FOOD…Your Choice.
Dr. Gloria G. Kinney, Ph.D., who was director of Nutrition and Education for NDC from 1976-1986, played an instrumental role in the FOOD… Your Choice program.
“Dr. Kinney brought her knowledge and passion for education and nutrition. She had a vision of how you could impart nutrition education in schools by tying it into other subjects, like science and social studies, math, home economics and health,” said Tab Forgac, MS, RDN, LDN who worked with Dr. Kinney on the curriculum and still works for NDC today as vice president of Nutrition and Health Partnerships. “She helped NDC see how nutrition education could be implemented in schools – before that there wasn’t a curriculum or even a program available for teachers.”
I recently had the opportunity to meet Gloria and asked her some questions over lunch:
What was your proudest moment at NDC?
I would say seeing the FOOD… Your Choice program spread across the country. It was more than just a program, it was a nutrition experience that encouraged healthy practices. It’s one thing to develop something, but if people don’t see that it is useful, it sits on the shelves.
How did NDC impact your life?
Since it was the first time I worked professionally outside of the public school arena, it gave me a whole new perspective on my career and how I could make an impact. Working for NDC enabled me to really apply the Ph.D. that I received in education and social policy. NDC gave me a number of great opportunities, including the ability to see a program through from start to finish – from development to implementation to evaluation.
What do you envision for the next 100 years?
That’s a long time! There is great opportunity for nutrition because there’s more of an emphasis for better health now. When I was with NDC, some thought that the health fad was just that – a fad. But clearly this emphasis on health is here to stay and it is only getting stronger. I think that nutrition is increasingly going to be understood in conjunction with brain science. I have often thought that not only should dietitians be involved in nutrition education and health, but we ought to get psychologists and neuroscientists involved too.
Thanks to individuals like Dr. Kinney and programs like FOOD… Your Choice, six years ago, NDC partnered with the NFL to reach more than 73,000 schools and 11 million students across the nation through Fuel Up to Play 60, a unique in-school nutrition and physical activity program. As Dr. Kinney explained, in today’s world the opportunity to be healthy has become the focal point of conversations everywhere. There’s no better time than now to continue to help improve child health.