National Nutrition Month: A Brief History

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    INTWith the 1990s came a greater focus on consumer trendsand effective consumer messaging for National NutritionMonth. Consumer surveys, including ADAs Nutrition

    S. Denny is director, ADA Knowledge Center, AmericanDietetic Association, Chicago, IL.

    Address correspondence to: Sharon Denny, MS, RD,AD1260



    2Trends Survey, reported that although a growing numberof consumers recognized the importance of good nutritionand health, they were still somewhat confused and un-certain about how to incorporate their knowledge into ahealthful lifestyle. The challenge became how to moveconsumers to action (2).The call to action came in 1992 with the theme Eat

    A Knowledge Center, American Dietetic Association,0 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000, Chicago, IL606. E-mail: sdenny@eatright.orgopyright 2006 by the American Dietetic

    sociation.002-8223/06/10603-0014$32.00/0oi: 10.1016/j.jada.2006.01.020

    006 by the American Dietetic Association Journal of the AMERICAN DIETETIC ASSOCIATION 365mmentary

    ational Nutrition MonthRON DENNY, MS, RD

    he first National Nutrition Week campaign waslaunched in 1973 with a presidential proclamation,TV and radio public service announcements, news

    eases, and bumper stickers, all featuring the themevest in YourselfBuy Nutrition. From the beginning,tional Nutrition Week was enthusiastically embracedAmerican Dietetic Association (ADA) members as anportunity to promote the profession as well as to servea vehicle for delivering nutrition education messagesthe public. Armed with a promotion kit produced inr two, dietetics professionals went to work planningcial events in schools, health care facilities, and com-nity centers. Radio announcements and news releasesined the attention of the media. Newspaper coverageve the ADA more lines of copy than ever before in thetory of the Association (1). Items that would soon be-e National Nutrition Month staplesposters, tablets, and tray matswere produced with the Nationaltrition Week theme and quickly became the founda-n for a range of National Nutrition Month promotionalms that continue to be used today. See the Figure for at of past National Nutrition Month themes.

    , 80S, AND NUTRIBIRDyear four, National Nutrition Week had grown dra-tically in the number of members involved, activitiesnned, and range of consumers reached. District andte associations started planning their own local eventssigned to catch media attention. Many members begantake advantage of National Nutrition Week to launchir own public relations and nutrition information cam-igns (1). In response to the popularity of National Nu-tion Week and the publics growing interest in nutri-n and health, the House of Delegates called for anansion of National Nutrition Week to National Nutri-n Month beginning in 1980. In Carry the Flame: Thestory of the American Dietetic Association, author Jone Cassell states that, during the 1970s, National Nu-tion Week was ADAs most successful attempt toch the public with sound nutrition information in aely fashion (1).A Brief History

    eanwhile, in 1977, Nutribird first appeared as ADAsimated mass media symbol of good nutrition (1). Withody shaped like a head of lettuce and a carrot beak,tribird was featured on all types of promotional items,m t-shirts to stickers. As spokesperson for Nationaltrition Month, Nutribird appeared in TV public servicenouncments, radio spots, an educational filmstrip, andn on a recording of songs promoting good nutrition.ny dietetics professionals and student interns in thee 1970s and early 1980s donned a Nutribird costume toare healthful eating messages with adults and chil-n. However, not all members were fans of felt that this was not the right image for dieteticsfessionals, and so after 1980, Nutribirds role in Na-nal Nutrition Month began to diminish.y the mid-1980s, ADA ambassadors had become thekespeople for National Nutrition Month and the As-iation. National Nutrition Month was growing, chang-, and gaining a larger reach, especially with the me-. New promotional items were introduced so that salesreased and funding was obtained for special projectsch as public service announcements and a consumertline.n 1986, National Nutrition Month received the C. Flagard from the Presidents Citation Program for Privatector Initiatives. That same year it was estimated thatre than half of all ADA members were involved ine manner with National Nutrition Month.DA members became more creative in finding ways tomote each years theme in a wide variety of practicetings. They were also able to enlist increasing cooper-on and support from community groups. Each yeartional Nutrition Month themes were popping up in allds of places, including airplane banners, billboards,s signs, milk cartons, and grocery bags. National Nu-tion Month posters appeared in military institutionsund the worldeven in Navy submarines. In 1987,tional Nutrition Month posters and table tents madeir debut on national television when they were fea-ed as school cafeteria props on the shows Head of theass and Growing Pains.

    O THE 90S

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    1973 Invest in YourselfBuy Nutrition 1990 Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right1974 Nutrition $aves 1991 Bite Into a Healthy Life Style1975 Food Fads Fool 1992 Eat Right America!1 191 191 191 19

    191 191 191 201 20

    201 201 201 201 2011


    366ht America, selected for its easy-to-understand lan-age and universal appeal. To maximize the impact andareness of National Nutrition Month, this themeuld continue for 3 years along with the red, white, ande logo. This theme later became the inspiration forAs Web address: industry support of special National Nutri-n Month projects had been ongoing for many years,laboration with McDonalds on a project called FoodNdamentals took the 1993 National Nutrition Monthssages to a much greater audience through Mc-nalds 9,000 franchises. This project featured toy foodaracters and nutrition activity pamphlets developed byADA in cooperation with McDonalds. ADA members

    ned forces with local McDonalds restaurants to spon-activities and joint promotions during National Nu-

    tion Month. To facilitate local cooperation, the ADAd McDonalds provided a partnership kit containing aeprint for organizing events and maximizing mediaerage. Millions of children learned about the Foodide Pyramid through the materials distributed withs program.o address concerns about mixed messages and con-

    mer confusion, the ADA joined forces in 1995 with keymbers of the food industry, other health organizations,d US government agencies to create the Dietary Guide-es Alliance. The objective of this unusual partnerships to speak with one voice. Using information fromus groups and consumer research, the Alliance devel-ed the Its All About You campaign to translate theetary Guidelines recommendations into five simplessages: be realistic, be adventurous, be flexible, besible, be active (3). The resulting core messages be-e the basis for a wide range of consumer educationjects created by the member organizations, includingADAs National Nutrition Month. The central con-

    976 Improving Nutrition for the Nation977 Nutrition . . . Foodway to Fun and Fitness978 Nutribird Says: Eat a Balanced Diet Every Day979 Nutribird Says: Set the Pace! Take the Food Way for Good

    Nutrition980 To Hit Your Stride . . . Eat Smart981 Pep Up Your Prime TimeExercise . . . Eat Right . . . Enjoy982 Invest Now . . . Nutrition is Up983 Say Yes to Less (Less Fat, Less Salt, Less Sugar) or

    Juggle the Foods You Eat984 Everybody Wins With Good Nutrition985 FoodIt Even Sounds Nutritious986 Good NutritionFeel the Difference987 Good NutritionA Personal Choice988 Choose Good NutritionFor Today & Tomorrow989 A Lifetime DecisionChoose Good Nutrition

    ure. National Nutrition Month themes/slogans, 1973 to 2006.March 2006 Volume 106 Number 3ts of this campaign can still be seen today in Nationaltrition Month and other consumer nutrition commu-ations.y the late 1990s, National Nutrition Month hadved onto the Internet and corporate intranets. Mem-rs were sending out daily nutrition tips via e-mailring March and downloading National Nutritionnth promotional materials. The National Nutritionnth media kit went from print to CD-ROM completeth video clips of spokespeople. Media exposure for ADAmbers and National Nutrition Month continued to ex-nd as interest in health and wellness grew. Specialjects such as magazine inserts reached new audiences,reasing the visibility of dietetics professionals.hrough all of the changes in the past 33 years, thetinuing success of National Nutrition Month has beenpendent on an essential elementADA members whothusiastically plan and organize local events, bothge and small, in multiple venues, for all types of audi-ces. Over the years, National Nutrition Month hasained true to its original purpose: To increase the

    blics awareness of the importance of good nutritiond position ADA members as the authorities in nutri-n.

    erencesCassell JA. Carry the Flame: The History of ADA.Chicago, IL: American Dietetic Association; 1990.Parks S, Schwartz N. Presidents page: National Nu-trition MonthFocus on healthy eating and fitness.J Am Diet Assoc. 1994;94:329-330.Schwartz N, Kennedy E. The Dietary Guidelines Alli-ance: Reaching consumers with meaningful healthmessages. J Am Diet Assoc. 1997;97:249.

    93 Eat Right America! (Food Guide Pyramid)94 Nutrition Fuels Fitness (Eat Right America!)95 Discover Nutrition Anytime, Anywhere (Eat Right America!)96 Enjoy the Variety of Food Choices (Eat Right America!)97 All Foods Can Fit98 Make Nutrition Come Alive (Its All About You.)99 Take A Fresh Look at Nutrition00 Food & Fitness: Health for a Lifetime01 Food & Fitness: Build a Healthy Lifestyle02 Start Today for a Healthy Tomorrow03 Healthy Eating, Healthy You04 Eat Smart, Stay Healthy05 Get a Taste for Nutrition!06 Step Up to Nutrition & Healthlarenrempuantio




    National Nutrition Month: A Brief History70S, 80S, AND NUTRIBIRDINTO THE 90SReferences


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