Free nutrition program offers services to KSU students

Chelsea Cassudakis

A free nutritional education program is being offered to all Kent State students, faculty and Portage County community members.

The Nutrition Outreach Program is a part of the School of Health Studies in the College of Education, Health and Human Services.

The program provides individual and group nutrition education, said Jodie Luidhardt, director of the program. People come in for advice on how to gain or lose weight, for diet advice for athletes and for any type of nutritional concern.

The program staff consists of Luidhardt, graduate and undergraduate nutrition majors. Luidhardt coordinates the program’s events and activities, while students are able to help work them.

“For example, we provide a weight management program for overweight children,” Luidhardt said. “I direct the program and organize the lesson plans, but they work with kids directly, which gives them some hands-on experience.”

Chris Vogliano, nutrition graduate student, helps Luidhardt give three-day dietary records for athletes and anyone else who comes in. He tries to figure out how to make diets fit different lifestyles.

“Having a good, healthy diet is so important,” Luidhardt said. “It helps build a strong immune system so students are nice and healthy throughout the semester.”

As such, the program doesn’t just work with children and Kent State students.

“We see people of all life spans,” Luidhardt said. “It’s interesting because I usually see a child, a college student and an elderly adult, all in the same day.”

The program can help students just figure out what they’re getting out of their current diet, she said.

“Let’s just say you want to make sure your diet is adequate,” Luidhardt said. “If you bring a detailed food diary, we can do a complete nutritional analysis of it. We can show you how many milligrams of calcium it’s providing and if you need to make any changes to it.”

Luidhardt said the program provides students with other services such as walking around dining halls with a nutritionist to get advice on healthy campus food choices, grocery store tours and educating students on how to read food labels.

The program is also a useful resource for resident assistants. The program sends out nutrition students in the program to give on-campus presentations about healthy eating, which are particularly popular in the dorms, Luidhardt said.

Vogliano has worked these on-campus events with other nutrition majors.

“My friend Emily and I went to the freshmen rooms and gave them about an hour presentation on eating healthy, how not to gain the ‘Freshman 15’ and what good dining options on campus were,” he said.

“It’s nice that students can take advantage of this resource for free,” Luidhardt said. “Usually if you go to a health center to talk to a trained nutrition specialist, it costs you anywhere from $20 to $100.”

To schedule an appointment with the program, contact Jodie Luidhardt at 330-672-2063 or [email protected].

“As for Kent State students, I would say this is such an excellent resource to have at your fingertips,” Vogliano said. “Students should take advantage of it.”

Contact Chelsea Cassudakis at [email protected].