Ending Hunger and Improving Nutrition in At Risk Populations

Author: Lauren Patneau

While in Chester I noticed that there were cafes, grocery stores, and small markets all over the city.  Everywhere we went there seemed to be options to eat.  It made me think about the food deserts all over the United States.  Entire communities that do not have access to fresh food.  In 2015 the United Nations created a list of seventeen goals to be completed by 2030.  The aim of these goals was to improve our world.  Each goal had indicators to outline what it meant to complete the goal.  The second Sustainable Development Goal addresses ending hunger across the world and improving nutrition in at risk populations.  Across Chester I could see the indicators for this goal.  There are small local stores all of which offer fresh food at reasonable prices and the grocery stores are placed all around the community so everyone has access.  They also have food pantries and community events where people can come get free meals.  Nursing plays an important role in identifying who is at risk for malnutrition.  We provide a lot of education and resources to families on how to ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need.  However, just because we give a patient information on what they should eat does not mean they have access to this kind of food.  That is why I was really impressed by Chester’s access to non-processed food.  When the nurses counsel their patients on healthy eating choices they can reference the local places that carry all this food.

I also got to see the importance of the nurses education role first hand while shadowing a nurse who was performing home visits to check on moms and babies.  At each appointment she talked about common areas where kids and moms lack nutrition and how they could prevent them.  At several visits the nurse discussed vitamins and how moms could ensure both their own and their babies diets were rich in vitamins.  This included the use of supplements, which all new moms received after giving birth.  On one visit in particular we discussed the benefits of giving young children whole milk versus a lower fat milk with a mom.  The nurse provided important information to the mother about why the higher fat milk was more beneficial to her child’s growth and development.  The nurses focus on educating families was an effective strategy for improving the populations health and fighting malnutrition.

 

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