The study materials for the 'Get the Facts on Fat' nutrition education class at The Helping Center of Marble Falls included vials displaying the amount of fat in various foods, including meals from McDonalds and Taco Bell. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey
Free nutrition education classes are being offered this summer at The Helping Center of Marble Falls, 1016 Broadway. The first class on Thursday, May 26, was part of a larger “Get the Facts” program that aims to educate the community on nutrition and healthy eating.
“We’re really passionate about sharing nutrition education because a lot of Americans don’t have a good basic education on nutrition,” said Kailey Roberts, the Burnet County AgriLife extension agent for Family and Community Health.
Roberts has committed to providing monthly summer classes on nutrition education at the center. The next two will be June 31 and July 21.
The May 26 class focused on understanding nutrition labels and the role that fats play in a healthy — or unhealthy — diet. The class was compact, only lasting 30 minutes, but Roberts used the time effectively, employing teaching tools such as thought exercises, visual aids, and study guides.
“When you go to the doctor, they don’t have the time to go over this with you,” said Katherien Deats, one of the 10 class attendees. Deats mentioned that her doctors and nutritionists often give a few recommendations for what to buy, but they don’t explain why.
“A lot of it is just too confusing,” she added. “I can’t handle it.”
“I wish I could wave a magic wand and give everybody the perfect list of what to consume versus not,” Roberts said. “That’s where understanding how to read these labels can help you prioritize what is important to you and your family.”
The U.S. obesity rate between 2017 and March 2020 was 41.9 percent, according to a study over that time period by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also reported that obesity-related illnesses cost $173 billion annually. The average obese person spends $1,861 more a year on medical care than someone at a healthy weight.
“I am really excited to be able to provide this education to people that aren’t able to get it from their primary care physician,” Roberts said. “I hope they will learn how to read a nutrition facts label, understand what is important about those nutrition facts labels, and how to make healthier choices based on what they prioritize.”
This is The Helping Center’s first “Get the Facts” nutrition class.
“We had 10 folks here. We had English speakers, Spanish speakers, lots of good questions, lots of anecdotal comments from everyone attending,” said Barbara King, the Learn4Life program coordinator at The Helping Center. “It was a great success.”
The Helping Center is a food pantry that serves 2,747 people monthly in the Marble Falls area.