Nutrition Student Assists NPH Mexico

 

Since September 2012, I have done my internship and my social service in the NPH clinic in Miacatlán. Being here has been one of the most interesting experiences in my life and has helped me a lot in my studies.

I began my practice, together with my colleague Cecilia Maya, supporting clinical staff in anthropometric measurements (weight and height). We also elaborated specialized menus for Tere and Rosy, patients with rheumatoid arthritis living in the clinic, to help them alleviate symptoms of this disease. We also developed a manual of the right foods for the clinic bedridden considering the most common medical problems and including foods that accelerate their recovery.

When I finished my internship in late October, I realized I could still do more to improve the nutrition of the children in the home. That´s why I decided to continue supporting the clinic with my social service. In this second part, I started with the evaluation of the hygiene in the kitchen and provided some recommendations for a healthier menu, and based on the anthropometric assessment which had been done previously I developed an educational project in nutrition for primary and secondary school.

The main reason why I decided to implement this project together with the health department of NPH Mexico, was the need for children and adolescents to learn how to choose food, to improve their alimentation and to promote the benefits of a healthy and balanced diet as well as the importance of physical activity. This program not only intents to prevent overweight and obesity, but also future diseases associated with these problems, among them diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases which cause a catastrophic expense in the health system.

To realize this program, I designed special classes for primary and secondary school in cooperation with the health department, adapting the subjects according to age.

Primary school:

– The eat well plate and type of food

– The importance of drinking water and physical activity

Secondary school:

– Adequate nutrition

– The importance of drinking water

– The importance of physical activity

– How do we know that our weight is appropriate?

It is expected that the objectives are met and that the project will generate awareness in children and adolescents, so that they develop a healthier life style with adequate eating habits and physical activity to prevent diseases in the future. The students are expected to teach their peers, siblings and relatives to develop a healthier lifestyle. This project is also supposed to serve as an example for future projects to be done at NPH, always taking into account the role of nutritional education as fundamental part of disease prevention.

Popoca Ariadna Cuevas

Nutritional Consultant

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