Nutrition Education Provides Outreach to Improve Health-Related Behaviors for Superfund Communities
Carolyn R. Hofe, Lisa M. Gaetke, Megan Finnie
Since 2000, UK’s Superfund Basic Research Program’s (SBRP) Community Outreach Core has provided support and guidance through critical information on nutrition and health-related issues to meet the needs of individuals and communities affected by environmental contaminants. This purpose is underscored through its title, Superfund Community Action through Nutrition (SCAN). During previous funding, SCAN established a close collaboration with community groups in eastern and western Kentucky, and SCAN programs, endorsed by these two communities, provided a new service resource for nutrition and scientific information. The aim of SCAN is to empower affected individuals and communities to take proactive steps toward their own health by drawing on the strength of the nutrition-related research from UK’s SBRP. The specific aims of SCAN include: 1) further develop and present SCAN nutrition and environmental health education programs for a new third site in central Kentucky and the previously established community constituents; 2) further define SCAN’s nutrition education message and enhanced recommendations that diets low in fat and high in phytonutrients may reduce the toxicity of PCB’s and related compounds as reported by UK SBRP’s biomedical researchers; 3) develop new, tangible qualitative outcome measures of SCAN programs as to improved knowledge and attitudes of health risks associated with exposure to environmental contaminants and the influence of nutrition on these risks with consideration of sensitive issues, such as community characteristics and pending litigation that may impede quantitative measures; 4) further establish trust with identified community constituents in order to provide advanced SCAN programs, which show changes in nutrition and health-related behaviors. Results of SCAN programs will be used to assess the differences that diet and geo-social characteristics play on nutrition and health issues and to design new diet strategies for individuals, families, and communities to enable them to optimize their health in the face of exposure to Superfund contaminants.
KRCEE is a collaborative effort of Kentucky universities and is administered by the University of Kentucky.