Nutrition Unscrambled

National Nutrition Month Mini-Symposium* “Communicating Nutrition Messages: Strategies for Diverse Audiences”

By Marcia Greenblum, MS, RD
March 11th, 2011

In honor of National Nutrition Month, NIH Division of Nutrition Research Coordination (DNRC) sponsored a very informative discussion: “Communicating Nutrition Messages: Strategies for Diverse Audiences”.  Speakers included Kay Loughrey, who spoke about Health Communications, Cheryl Toner, discussing Gender Considerations, Sonya Grier presented an update on Digital Media and Youth, Stephanie Dailey spoke about Communicating with Older Adults and Eileen Newman concluded with Cross Cultural communication strategies.

It really made me reflect on the ways we health communicators typically communicate; a brochure, a newsletter, a press release or a website entry. These are all unidirectional which we believe to be outreach but to really communicate, I now realize, our messages must be interactive and targeted to learning styles. Some of the speakers discussed games and video competitions that challenge target audiences to not only hear but adopt the message into their own style.

I also learned about the challenges of aging, something I am becoming all too familiar with, which makes communicating messages more difficult. But what impressed me most was that the central theme for communicating to all groups was that messages must be simple and short. Everyone including physicians and highly educated professionals want messages in bullets with only the important facts that are relevant to their needs.

No one wants to spend time evaluating an issue anymore. This was a lesson that we gained at our focus groups with health professionals. If a message is corroborated by others, it becomes truth. This is what was referred to as Illusion of Truth (Skutnick). In fact, this theory says that repetition makes people remember an issue to be true even if the issue was proven to be false. I find this very relevant to the perception of dietary cholesterol’s effect on heart disease. The association was repeated so often that even though it’s been disproven, it is still remembered as true.

Additionally, good communication tools include chunking information, speaking in an active voice, presenting information within interactive discussion in bulleted or a Q&A format. I learned a lot from this meeting and appreciate NIH DNRC for sponsoring this practical forum.



Nutrition Unscrambled  is written by nutrition experts with the Egg Nutrition Center, which is funded by the American Egg Board. It is monitored and maintained by the public relations agency of record. The mission of the Egg Nutrition Center is to be a credible source of nutrition and health science information and the acknowledged leader in research and education related to eggs. For more information, click here.

About the Bloggers

Mitch Kanter, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of the Egg Nutrition Center. For more information about
Mitch, click here.
Marcia Greenblum, MS, RD is the Senior Director, Nutrition Education at the Egg Nutrition Center. For more information about Marcia, click here.
Anna Shlachter, MS, RD, LDN is the Program Manager, Nutrition Research and Communications at the Egg Nutrition Center. For more information about Anna, click here.

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All information provided within this blog is for informational and educational purposes only and it is not to be construed as medical advice or instruction. Please consult your physician or a qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health or before making changes to your diet or health behaviors.