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First annual Food, Nutrition and Health Update inspires healthy action

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Motivation. Passion. Energy. These are just a few of the words attendees of the first Food, Nutrition and Health Update used to describe the inaugural conference of the new Moore Family Center for Whole Grain Foods, Nutrition and Preventive Health.

The conference provided not only a continuing education opportunity, but also a venue for dietitians, nutrition educators and health professionals to learn the latest information, from the science to its application, on emerging issues in nutrition and health.

The event replaces the former “Dietitian’s Update” last held in 2007.

“When I became director of the Moore Family Center, having this conference was one of the first things on my agenda,” says MFC Endowed Director Emily Ho. “I felt it was an important venue to help get the food and nutrition community together to catalyze partnerships among the food industry, researchers and practitioners for our community’s better health.”

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CPHHS Dean Tammy Bray and Bob Moore greet each other at the Food, Nutrition and Health Update

Attendance at the Food, Nutrition and Health Update almost doubled that of participation in 2007 – proving that educators and health professionals recognize a need to continue their education.

“The energy and passion in the room for whole grains and healthy diets was inspirational,” Emily says. “We plan to continue to offer this education and collaborative venue again on an annual basis.”

Emily and Bob Moore, founding president and CEO of Bob’s Red Mill, kicked things off by describing the importance of eating whole grains and how the MFC is helping improve the lives of others through healthy foods and good nutrition.

Associate professor at the University of Minnesota and president of Grains for Health Foundation Dr. Len Marquart provided a keynote address on whole grains and health, and how the food supply needs to meet the lifestyle needs of consumers through the availability and accessibility of healthier grain-based foods that are affordable, desirable and practical.

Dr. Matthew Riley with Northwest Pediatric Gastroenterology, LLC spoke on differentiating celiac disease from other wheat- and gluten-related ailments.

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Other speakers included Cynthia Warren, assistant professor, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Texas Woman’s University – “Strategies to Increase Whole Grain Consumption: Targeting School Meals;” Robert Martindale, Division of General Surgery chief, Oregon Health & Sciences University – “Gut Microbiota and Health;” and Siew Sun Wong, assistant professor and Extension nutrition specialist, Oregon State University – “Using Technology to Promote Healthy Eating in our Youth.”

“It was great to present on this topic because technology today has the capacity to make health information and linked medical records available at our fingertips,” Siew Sun says. “It is exciting for educators, researchers and healthcare providers to integrate technology such as mobile health to enhance assessment, prevention and treatment of health issues.”

The event wrapped up with a panel, along with members of the audience, sharing experiences and ideas surrounding the challenges and opportunities educators and health practitioners face when encouraging the community to increase whole grain consumption.

“It was inspirational to hear Bob’s motivating remarks and the speakers’ cutting-edge research findings,” Siew Sun says. “Students and colleagues alike were excited and agreed that we all learned a lot together that day!”