So. Many. Dietitians.
By Emily Wetzel, RD, LD
FNCE: 10,000 plus dietitians all gathered for an annual national conference.
This year’s location: My current residence, home of the deep dish pizza, Chicago, IL.
It was my first FNCE and the thought, “I have never seen so many dietitians in one place before” ran through my head all four days of the conference.
Chicago is home to many things, including deep dish delicious pizza!
Day One was a whirlwind of emotions. Directly after check in and receiving our badges, we entered a large room where Dr. Sanjay Gupta captured the audience and enforced what a large impact dietitians have on the medical field. Something that we need to continue to reinforce with our coworkers and patients every day. “Food can heal and help rescue us from what is happening in the healthcare system,” he said during that opening ceremony.
Even though the opening ceremony started late in the afternoon, between choosing which lectures to attend for the reminder of the conference and navigating my way to the classroom, it felt like it had been a full day already! After heading home from all the excitement of Day One, it was nearly time to get right back up and start Day Two: lectures and expos.
Building a healthier future: The first 1000 days
This was a lecture I had been looking forward to since spying it in the FNCE app. The speakers talked in depth about how much of an impact dietitians can have on a woman and child from conception through the child’s second birthday. Some interesting statistics from the lecture included:
- Breast feeding has prevented 12,320 cases of type 2 diabetes and 35,982 cases of hypertension.
- Breast feeding has also prevented 2,558,629 cases of GI infections in children and 45,298 cases of childhood obesity.
Clinical Insight Into Vitamin B12
Another amazing lecture I attended focused on the worldwide Vitamin B12 deficiency. Roman Pawlak, the session speaker, presented some interesting research that several populations are at higher risk for Vitamin B12 deficiency. These include: Older adults, vegetarian patients taking metformin, patients with GI conditions and surgery.
A Lively Discussion
In addition, a panel discussion was held regarding public policy and dietetics with former member of the United States House of Representatives, Allyson Schawartz. Other panel members included Dr. Don Bradley and national coordinator of “Defeat Malnutrition Today,” Bob Blancato.
Highlights of the panel included the importance of starting at the grass roots to make change in our communities. To quote: “When making change in anything, you don’t need to know the ‘language,’ you just need to know what hat to wear.” In other words, it’s important to know your audience and how to make information beneficial to them.
Now that FNCE has wrapped up, I am looking forward to see what this next year has to offer and to travel to our capital, Washington DC!
Emily Wetzel is a consultant dietitian in Chicago, IL. She has been with Dietitians On Demand since she started her career in 2013. Here she is at the Dietitians On Demand booth at FNCE! She did an Instagram takeover for us, too. Check it out!
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