In advance of Earth Day, a series of campus events called Choose More Often (CMO) will focus on how diet choices affect personal health and the health of the planet.
Hosted by students in two Radford University classes—Honors Academy CORE 201: Contemporary Issues in Food, Nutrition and Health; and NUTR 214: Introduction to Nutrition—CMO will feature food sampling, a movie screening and outreach events to stimulate discussion about the world's food supply, individual dietary habits and food's vital relationship to personal and planetary health. All events are free and open to the public.
"Why call it Choose More Often? We want to elicit the question: What do you mean?" said Irma Silva-Barbeau, an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Exercise, Sport and Health Education. "It means: Choose More Often whole foods and plant-based foods. In other words, eat less processed and animal-based foods."
The CMO events are inspired by the pioneering books of Barry Popkin and T. Colin Campbell that Silva-Barbeau said influenced her work as a global nutritionist and epidemiologist with the U.S. Agency for International Development and the World Health Organization. Popkin's "The World is Fat" and Campbell's "The China Study" are central to the curriculum this semester for the Honors Academy’s contemporary issues course.
Silva-Barbeau said both books portray an alarming connection between how we are currently nourishing ourselves, the prevalence of chronic illnesses and global degradation.
In classes during the CMO events and other Earth Day celebrations, the students involved will give speeches and hold discussions on the implications for a whole-food, plant-based diet to individual and environmental sustainability. RU's annual campuswide celebration of Earth Day will be Thursday, April 19, on Heth Lawn from 2 to 7 p.m.
CMO events are:
- Good Nutrition for Good Health, Monday, April 16, 11 a.m.- 5 p.m., Hurlburt Student Center plaza. The event will focus on the role of nutrition in decreasing the risks of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer, and minimizing the human carbon imprint. Body mass index testing and recommendations about dietary adjustments based on healthy portion sizes will be featured.
- "Planeat," Tuesday, April 17, 7 p.m., McGuffey 206. This film presents a clear and convincing argument for a plant-based diet that will make viewers salivate. A panel discussion about whole food, plant-based diet and an opportunity to sample plant-based foods will follow.
- Earth Day Festival, Thursday, April 19, 2-7 p.m., Heth Lawn. CMO students and the RU Environmental Club will show how to start a vegetable garden and will give free soil and seeds.