The Cal Poly Nutrition Club is addressing rising concerns about obesity in America by developing programs such as Pink and Dude Chefs, which promotes a healthy lifestyle.
The Pink and Dude Chefs program is a cooking intervention that teaches 12 to 14-year-old children about nutrition through practical application and basic cooking skills. It aims to change the way children approach eating, program coordinator Julie Chessen said.
“The program was founded on the realization of the extreme importance for teaching basic cooking skills as a support system in combating childhood obesity,” Chessen said.
About one in every three adults in the United States is considered to be obese, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as 16 percent of children and adolescents.
Nutrition Club president Brooke Falvey says that the key to preventing obesity is to promote a nutritious diet.
“I suggest educating yourself on a variety of recipes that include healthy foods and don’t eat the same foods over and over,” Falvey said of maintaining a good diet. “A lot of the problem is just people getting bored with healthy foods, but all they need to do is change it up.”
Besides the Pink and Dude Chefs program, the club has also been known to put on social events, cater events and host discussions for guest speakers. Among the guest speakers, former Cal Poly students return to tell their stories about where they are now, how they got there and what it’s like, sophomore nutrition student and club member Kacyenn Williams said.
“The club has broadened my scope of the possibilities available to me within the growing field,” Williams said. “It has definitely made me really excited about the types of jobs that are available within the industry.”
During their meetings, students also have the opportunity to sign up for local volunteer opportunities, something the club needs to do more of, according to Falvey.
“We need to be more involved in places around San Luis Obispo,” she said.
The goal of the Nutrition Club is to provide a place for nutrition students to network with other students and professionals. To get a feel for what the industry is like outside of the classroom and provide a platform for students to decide whether they would like to work in hospitals, schools, culinary or the food industry, Falvey said.
“(The club) has provided me a place to mingle with others who are interested in studying the same things as me,” Williams said. “I have also learned information about jobs within the nutrition field that I never considered or forgot about.”
Approximately 10 to 15 people attend every club meeting, but an estimated 70 people are considered to be part of the group that meets in room 113 of the Food Processing Building at 11 a.m. every other Thursday. The next meeting is scheduled for May 21.