What Is a Community Nutrition Educator?

Community Health EducatorA community nutrition educator is a vital player in the global effort to increase awareness of the importance of proper dietary practices. With the goal of improving the health and quality of life of those they serve, these dedicated professionals give of their time, expertise, and personal and informational resources. Their activities are as varied as the places in which they live and work.

A Formal Educator

Community nutrition educators hold regularly scheduled classes, seminars, and workshops with the goal of helping participants:

• make wise food choices for themselves and their families
• effectively shop for groceries
• make the most of their food budget
• prepare nutritious and appetizing meals

In their teaching role, they work with people from various ethnic groups, income strata, and age levels.

A Nutritional Warrior on the Front Lines

The keyword in the nutrition specialist’s job description is community. These activists can be found in local health departments, schools and day care centers, soup kitchens, nutritional services like the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, and other community based locations. They understand that these local programs are even more successful if a trained community nutrition educator is on hand. A significant portion of the nutritionist’s workday may be spent on the road in order to meet the needs of the entire population. Since low-income individuals often face health challenges related to inadequate diet, the caring professionals make it a priority to reach out to and assist poorer members of their communities.

An Advocate for Getting the Word Out

Information is key to any successful program, and community nutrition educators are at the forefront of providing materials and resources to their communities. They use pamphlets, leaflets, flyers, television and radio spots and programs, electronic communications, and social media to accomplish their goals. With their expertise, they produce informational materials that offer practical advice and strategies for improving nutrition and achieving greater health. They’re also a resource for valuable government publications and up-to-date information on topics of public interest.

A Dedicated Servant of the People

A community nutrition educator is not satisfied with making public appearances and distributing informational pieces. Personality, outlook, talents, and dedication all play a role in his or her success. The Wisconsin Nutrition Education Program pinpoints the traits that make community nutrition educators leaders in the twin causes of proper nutrition and physical and emotional well-being of all members of their communities.

Educators Dedicated to Their Professional Growth

As new developments and discoveries are constantly being made in health, nutrition, societal changes, and other areas of interest, community nutrition educators are always open to new opportunities for professional development. They keep abreast of the most effective ways of serving the people in their communities through formal education, mentoring, collaborating with other nutrition experts and health professionals, and following research and trends. Similarly, these educators constantly monitor the demographics and individual characteristics of the areas where they work to anticipate any changes that may affect the types of services they provide.

Communal health was first identified as a public concern in the 1890s. Since that time, the professional activities and dedication of community nutrition educators have continued to be vital for the health and well-being of the individuals and families in their localities.

Additional Reading: Bachelor’s Degree in Health Science