My name is Katherine, and I’m doing a survey on Nutrition in College-Aged Students. Perhaps you’d like to know how I got here, why I want this information, and what I plan to do with it, and maybe it’ll entice you to explore the field of nutrition.
When I was an undergrad at NYU, I was Pre-Med. For four years, I took all the classes and studied for my MCATs and did my applications, aka all the Pre-Med stuff.
But then, when I was shadowing physicians my sophomore year, I kept seeing patients seeking medical care with nutrition related diseases (diabetes, heart disease, obesity, etc.) or those with special nutritional needs (i.e. pregnancy and breastfeeding women, growing teens), that visited the doctor’s office, and left with medicine, yet zero discussion of nutrition or dietary interventions.
This left me super uneasy. I began probing healthcare professionals on why they skipped over nutrition as a routine part of care. Many told me they received little nutrition education in medical school, and I was then shocked to learn the lack of nutrition curriculum in a vast majority of medical schools.
I wanted to educate myself about nutrition to avoid becoming what I saw as a problem. Junior year I set out to obtain a nutrition minor. I soon learned that many diseases that cause 6/10 of the top preventable causes of deaths in the US are directly diet-related (including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and more).
I was amazed. Did you know that Type 2 diabetes is reversible at any stage simply with dietary and lifestyle interventions, allowing patients to be free of their medication? I didn’t either. I was inspired by the positive power nutrition could have. Turns out, what you eat and drink is really important.
Being the mega-dork that I am, I found it awesome that principles I learned in my basic science classes could be used to better understand how food and nutrients impacts the body and health. Every nutrition class I took left me hungry for more (pun intended).
I also got really excited by my food science courses, which applied science and lab techniques to the art and science of cooking. I loved scientifically manipulating food, and understanding how to create different variations of products using careful experimentation.
Raised in a household where healthy food and cooking were a lifestyle, I realized nutrition and food science were more of my calling than medicine. Spoon was, honestly, also a part of my realization that a passion for food could lead to a career (thanks Spoon, I owe ya big). This passion also led me to publish my first ebook and pursue higher education in nutrition and food.
Presently, I am enrolled in the MS program at Columbia University Institute of Human Nutrition at the Columbia University Medical Center. Eventually, I also plan to pursue a degree in Food Science, and aspire to one day be a food scientist who develops healthy food products, so I can replace things that are detrimental to health with much-better-for-you foods that taste good. Really good.
Instead of treating sick patients, I want to help change the food industry so less people end up in the doctor’s office with dietary-related diseases. This journey has shown me that I can impact health in ways that are sometimes seen as unconventional, and my further education has opened my eyes even more to other aspects of the nutrition and food science industry, and in public health.
I would encourage anyone interested in healthcare, science, or public policy to also explore these fields. I must also note that this was what is/was right for me, and that medicine is an important field, which I still view with great respect. So if you’re Pre-Med, more power to ya. Keep chuggin on that O-chem. It’ll pay off, I promise.
As part of my master’s thesis project, I’m interning-ish at SpoonHQ, and I want to help clear the noise of crappy and biased health articles and produce quality, evidence-based pieces and resources for college-aged kids to live healthier lives. That’s why I’m conducting a survey, to find out what college-aged students know about nutrition, where they get their information, and barriers they perceive to healthy eating, and what they want to know.
I plan to use this information to make some awesome, understandable nutrition and health articles for Spoon, as well as some downloadable resources to keep on hand. I’m on a mission to bring you the information you want and need to know to live a healthier lifestyle.