- With Mayo Clinic nutritionists
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.read biographyclose window
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.Katherine Zeratsky and Jennifer Nelson
Jennifer K. Nelson, M.S., R.D., L.D., C.N.S.D.
Jennifer Nelson is your link to a better diet. As specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, she plays a vital role in bringing you healthy recipes and meal planning.
"Nutrition is one way people have direct control over the quality of their lives," she says. "I hope to translate the science of nutrition into ways that people can select and prepare great-tasting foods that help maintain health and treat disease."
A St. Paul, Minn., native, she has been with Mayo Clinic since 1978, and is director of clinical dietetics and an associate professor of nutrition at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
She leads clinical nutrition efforts for a staff of more than 60 clinical dietitians and nine dietetic technicians and oversees nutrition services, staffing, strategic and financial planning, and quality improvement. Nelson was co-editor of the "Mayo Clinic Diet" and the James Beard Foundation Award-winning "The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook." She has been a contributing author to and reviewer of many other Mayo Clinic books, including "Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight for EveryBody," "The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" and "The Mayo Clinic/Williams Sonoma Cookbook." She contributes to the strategic direction of the Food & Nutrition Center, which includes creating recipes and menus, reviewing nutrition content of various articles, and providing expert answers to nutrition questions.
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, she is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She's active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
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July 27, 2011
What can be done to improve America's health?
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
Although America provides some of the world's best health care and spent over $2.5 trillion for health in 2009, it still ranks below many countries in life expectancy, infant mortality and other key health indicators. For this reason, the U.S. Surgeon General and multiple federal agencies came together to create the National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy, which was released in June of this year. The strategy calls on leaders in state and local communities, businesses, nonprofit groups and individuals to commit to healthy initiatives.
It's no surprise that healthy eating is one of the priority initiatives. We know that eating healthy can reduce risk of the most common, deadly medical problems including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis and several types of cancer — many related to obesity. Eating healthy requires more than providing people with information — it needs to be supported by an infrastructure that makes healthy foods available, affordable and safe.
In keeping with the current economic atmosphere, the strategy includes no new funding and very few mandates. Here are examples of how it's supposed to work.
The federal government will:
- Ensure that foods in federal programs (like school lunches) meet the standards set in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
- Improve agricultural and food safety policies to align with the dietary guidelines.
- Develop voluntary guidelines for foods marketed to children (for example in TV commercials), monitor and report on industry activities.
State and local governments will:
- Use grants and zoning to attract full-service grocery stores and farmers markets to underserved areas, aka "food deserts."
- Discourage businesses that serve unhealthy foods around schools.
Schools, businesses and employers will:
- Make healthy options and appropriate portion sizes the norm.
- Reduce sodium, saturated fats and added sugars in the foods served.
- Eliminate high-calorie, low-nutrition drinks and provide greater access to water.
Health care systems, insurers and health care providers will:
- Assess dietary patterns (quality and quantity of food eaten) and provide appropriate care for obesity.
Communities and individuals will:
- Lead and expand programs such as community gardens that bring healthy, locally grown foods to schools and businesses.
- Eat less by avoiding oversized portions.
- Exercise more.
What changes are you seeing happen that support healthy eating — in your community? In your health system? At work or in your schools? In your local and state governments? What are you doing?
To your health,