During the first week of April each year, the American Public Health Association (APHA) brings together communities to observe National Public Health Week. This year’s theme is Centering and Celebrating Cultures in Health and highlights the importance of fostering cultural connections to health and quality of life.
Last month, we celebrated National Nutrition Month, an annual campaign by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics which highlights the importance of making informed food choices across the lifespan.
A beautiful example of the convergence of these two themes is work being done by the Asian Pacific Islander Breastfeeding Task Force (APIBTF) a part of Breastfeed LA, tailoring the Dietary Guidelines for infants and toddlers for Chinese and Vietnamese communities. This project augments APIBTF’s sister organization Alameda County’s Asian, Southeast Asian, Pacific Islander (ASAP!) Breastfeeding Taskforce’s Continuity of Care (CoC) Blueprint Project Prenatal Toolkit for AANHPI families. The prenatal toolkit was adapted from an existing toolkit in Alameda County, and is available in English, traditional Chinese, and Vietnamese.
The initiative is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (CDC/DNPAO). NACCHO selected seven communities to strengthen community lactation support through the implementation of the Continuity of Care in Breastfeeding Support: A Blueprint for Communities from November 2022 to July 2023. The purpose of this project is to support the implementation of CoC strategies by local-level organizations among oppressed communities with historically low rates of chest/breastfeeding. [https://www.naccho.org/programs/community-health/maternal-child-adolescent-health/breastfeeding-support#early-childhood-nutrition]
The dietary resources which include an Educational Handout from Dietary Guidelines, Nutrition Resource Directory, and social media posts can be found here, available in English, Chinese and Vietnamese. The materials include a dietary guidelines hand out with two toddler-friendly recipes (with a fun suggestion to use green onion to decorate steamed eggs), three social media messages with a timeline for infant feeding, human milk recommendations, and complementary food recommendations, all commonly eaten in Asian communities. The deliverables are full of color and easy to navigate.
Judy Li and Cindy Young presented their work during NACCHO’s The First 1,000 Days Nutrition: Improving Nutrition Security for Infants and Toddlers in Communities of Color where the Improving Infant and Young Child Nutrition during the first 1,000 days in Communities of Color summary report was introduced.
Li, Young and their team’s work was community-informed, standing by the sentiment, “Nothing about us, without us.” The team spoke with community members about eating habits and learned that families do not eat according to the MyPlate graphic. Instead, they enjoy their meals in family-style servings from bowls. Recipes developed were tested by community members with children and tailored according to their suggestions; for example, the addition of different dipping sauces.
Participants also offered feedback stating that they appreciated the accessibility of the ingredients.