Healthy living taught through the Nutrition and Food Security Program
Each year, The International Rescue Committee in Salt Lake City (IRC SLC) resettles an average of 420 individuals. Because of the lack of food variety and access in the camps, many refugees come to the United States with mineral and vitamin deficiencies, malnourished, or diabetic. For many refugees, accessing affordable and nutritious foods poses a challenge. The Nutrition and Food Security program seeks to address these challenges by providing refugees with opportunities to learn about nutrition while increasing access to healthy foods. There are four components to the program: Individual Nutrition Education, Community Nutrition Education, B12 Anemia Education and Diabetes Education.
Most refugees resettled in Salt Lake City during Fiscal Year 2012 have an overall low intake of calories in general. After attending classes with the Nutrition and Food Security Program, caloric intake increased as evidenced by an overall increase in food frequency in general. Overall, participants increased their intake of vegetables by one serving per day and fruits by one serving per day. There was a significant increase in milk and eggs by two servings a day, which are both B12 containing foods products. The other B12 food containing products that were increased were: beans by one serving with a slight increase in chicken. Participants slightly decreased their intake of red meats (beef and lamb), which are known to cause heart disease if eaten in excess. Though there is still much to teach refugees on healthy eating habits, progress has been made as shown through the findings of the Nutrition and Food Security Program.