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Nutrition week offers health advice, goodies

Think a salad sprinkled with balsamic vinegarette and a heaping pile of fruit on your plate is good for you?

Not so, dieticians say-the real key to health is "balance."

March is National Nutrition Month, and this week the Duke Student Health Center is sponsoring Nutrition Week by providing students with opportunities to get healthy eating tips.

For the next few days, students will have the chance to witness live cooking demonstrations from Bon Appétit chefs and to hear from nutritionists why they just can't cut those midnight cravings. They will also be able to peruse colorful stickers placed at various food stations in the Marketplace that indicate how much fruit, protein, fats and carbohydrates are needed for a healthy meal.

Students can also win a "wellness bag" worth approximately $100-complete with goodies, such as a pedometer, stress ball and free personal training session.

"We're increasing awareness for people to think more about the various aspects of their diet they can improve-just little steps they can take," said Terri Brownlee, regional director of nutrition for Bon Appétit.

Last year, Duke's Nutrition Week featured talks in dormitories and information sessions, but this year the focus is on "getting students where they are actually eating," said Toni Apadula, a dietician at Student Health.

This year is the first time on-campus food service companies such as Bon Appétit and Chartwells have been involved, she added.

Despite the inclusion of new organizations, Apadula said the events held earlier in the week were still not as big as she had hoped, although students still stopped by the Marketplace information table throughout the evening Wednesday.

"Once you call them over there, they are always pretty receptive," Apadula said. "When engaging them in conversation, you can really see that they do have some questions-maybe even some questions they didn't know they had."

It may be difficult to snag students because of the table's location, sophomore Valencia Harriott said.

"Right now it's kind of hard to get people to stop and look at info. They're getting people as they're leaving eating.... Maybe they should grab people on the way in," Harriott said. "They're kind of done and probably aren't worried about eating now."

Freshman Ade Sawyer also said the table's location was not ideal.

"[The dietician] grabbed them after they finished eating all that crap," he added.

It is also difficult to follow through with balanced diet advice when good food options are limited at the Marketplace, Harriott said.

Other students, however, said they found Student Health's information useful.

"Offering students a gym bag full of stuff is a great way to encourage students to look at what they are eating," freshman Caroline Yoder said. "Most students have a basic level of understanding of what they should eat, but I don't think all of them think of all the choices they make."

Nutrition Week is just one in a series of programs sponsored by Student Health's health promotion team. During upcoming Sleep Week, members of the center will offer advice on healthy sleeping habits.

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