Health and wellbeing promotion on campus

London Met Dietetics students have been on campus engaging with the University community to promote healthy eating and nutrition awareness.

Date: 17 November 2021

A group of London Met's Dietetics students recently ran an event to promote health and wellbeing within the University community. The students, Joanne Westcott, Corinne Banaszak, and Isabelle Robinsson, offered a series of information and advice stands at London Met's Junction.

They explained, "we wanted to raise awareness of the different types of fats we consume in our diets, and the effect these can have on our health. On our health promotion stall, we demonstrated how much fat was in popular snacks in a visual way by using lard, which people found quite shocking.

"We tried to make our stall interesting by theming it on the popular TV show 'Squid Game', using the game 'red light, green light' to refer to the traffic light system used on food labels, and we had challenges for people to complete. Students came over out of curiosity, and engaged with the challenges, while hopefully also learning something about fats in their diet."

Asked why they feel this kind of health promotion is important, they said, "we feel that it's important to try to engage with people and remind them about healthy eating, because obesity, heart disease and other complications of a less-than-healthy diet and lifestyle are still such huge problems in the UK. The issue is that people do tend to hear the same messages about healthy eating over and over again, so it's good to try to get the information out there in a unique way, which is what we tried to do with our stall.

"People were quite interested in what we were doing when they first saw the theming of the stall, and then we were able to draw their attention to the information on display about dietary fat. People were most surprised by how much fat is present in certain chocolate bars and biscuits compared to how little is in a banana, for example. One thing that we noticed was the perception people have of coconut oil as being a very healthy product that they can consume a lot of, when it is actually a product we only recommend in moderation due to the high saturated fat content."

The students, who undertook the task as part of their placements, all feel it's important for students to have the opportunity to undertake practical experiences, in addition to academic work; something London Met offers as part of all its degree programmes.

They explained, "It's useful for students to be able to have conversations with people about the things they have learned, because it really helps to consolidate their learning. In our case, as student dietitians, talking to other London Met students helped to give us an idea about what the public know or believe about healthy eating, which will help us going forward into our careers when we start to engage with patients and the general public."

students showing different foods on a stand