Today@Sam Article

Nutrition Assessment Center Expands Free Health Services On Campus

Feb. 23, 2018
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti


Story by Hannah Haney

Nutrition is an important element of health in the college-aged population because poor eating habits can adversely affect the learning process and can contribute to the development of numerous chronic diseases.

Since its opening in the Fall of 2017, the Nutrition Assessment and Counseling Center at Sam Houston State University offers experiential learning activities for students in their programs and provides guidance to help individuals improve their health behaviors and manage nutrition-related concerns.

The NAAC is overseen by registered Dietitian Nutritionists and faculty members licensed in the state of Texas. It was established when Crystal Douglas and Simone Camel, both assistant professors for the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences and doctors of Nutrition, recognized the need on campus and their opportunity to make an impact.

Currently, the center is used to meet nutrition needs on campus including students admitted by physician referral from the Student Health Center and students enrolled in KINE 2115 that want free nutrition coaching. Students who meet medical diagnoses for conditions such as obesity, pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, iron deficiency, or anemia receive a referral from the health center and are invited to make an appointment. Students who are pregnant or vegetarian are also encouraged to make an appointment.

In its first semester, the NAAC received approximately 31 referrals from the Health Center, has supported six research protocols, and have trained more than 50 students on the equipment. The center is staffed by graduate students training to become Registered Dietitian Nutritionists and senior level Food Science and Nutrition students trained in nutrition assessment procedures. 

“Social media features so many self-proclaimed nutritionists and fad diets,” graduate student Haley Rowell said. “We know that nutrition is more than telling people what to eat.”

The facility, located in the Margaret Lea Houston building, suite 201, is equipped with two private counseling rooms, body composition equipment, and a one-way window for instructors to view student-patient simulations.

“We are lucky to have access to this equipment,” graduate student Nick Montez said. “Not many schools have the same opportunities for hands-on learning.”  

As the center grows, it aims to expand its services at SHSU and within the community.

“Since our opening in the fall, we have worked with some members of the SHSU athletic teams. We would like to grow this relationship with the athletic community because we recognize that our student athletes have increased nutritional needs,” Douglas said. “As our faculty program grows, we would like to oversee projects with the community as well.”

To schedule an appointment with Student Health Services, call (936) 294-1805.

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