Eat better SA and Nutrition Network Join Forces: Fighting Human Health Decline With The New Group Facilitation Training
Eat Better South Africa! (EBSA) is a community-based outreach programme working to benefit and improve the health and nutritional education of local community members in South Africa. We aim to bring positive change in communities across South Africa by utilising a grass-roots technique. We implement a community-based approach, whereby we engage, build and manage through our community coaches, nutritional education programmes and workshops to prevent chronic diseases and support good health.
EBSA was founded in 2015 through community collaboration to change the lives of the millions of South Africans impacted by chronic disease with no access to private healthcare. Since inception we have successfully run several EBSA programmes across South Africa, including communities such as Villiersdorp, Atlantis, Ocean View, Bosmont, Delft, Lavender Hill, Observatory.
We have had the honour and privilege to work with inspiring community members who are not only changing their own lives but who are passionate about changing their families’ lives and their communities at large. Our work in serving these communities is focused on changing and bettering lifestyles through nutritional education, and by generating an understanding of how eating habits, and the consumption of certain products, play a role in our quality of life and future health.
Individuals, civil societies and government entities all over the world are being inspired by our work and the commitment of our community coaches who work tirelessly to combat the devastating health crises plaguing our local communities, specifically diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome. We are developing multi-sectoral collaborations and partnerships across the country to provide safe community-based spaces for Eat Better SA programme implementation platforms, which are both age and demographic appropriate.
Currently, the world is seeing a global trend of health decline. We believe this can be largely attributed to the adoption of a western diet, consisting of highly processed and refined carbohydrate rich foods. It has been stated that noncommunicable diseases kill an estimated 41 million people every year. Unfortunately, diabetes and obesity have become pandemics in their own right and have put tremendous financial strain on sufferers and healthcare systems, especially in developing countries. Current research shows that the prevalence of diabetes has risen in tandemic with that of obesity prevalence, and both preventable diseases are leading risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. Present trends suggest that 2.7 billion people will be overweight by 2025 and will be at risk for developing type 2 diabetes and possibly other health complications. This paints a dim picture for the future of human health if this trend is not actively reversed. We believe that working with communities and medical professionals to develop and implement sustainable food practices, by promoting the inclusion of unprocessed meats, healthy fats and limiting carbohydrate intake, as well as make healthy foods more accessible in underdeveloped communities make a huge difference reversing the global health outlook.
We often receive correspondence from medical professionals who wish to make positive change within their communities or from community members who are struggling with their health, but are unable to make better lifestyle choices. EBSA has answered the call to help those in need by not only assisting with the education of medical professionals, but also working with community members to aid them with understanding nutritional information and healthy habits, without the need of intimidating medical jargon. Our solution to improve the health of South Africans has been to implement nutrition education programmes in local communities with the aim to empower individuals with the necessary tools to reverse and prevent chronic disease.
Men and women from local communities sign up for a 6-week programme where they learn about the effects of sugar and carbohydrates on the body. During the programme, we show communities how to overcome sugar addiction, budget for and prepare healthier foods, and coach them on the benefits of following a low carbohydrate high-fat (LCHF) lifestyle and the effects it has on high cholesterol, blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and insulin resistance. Every week, the groups meet at a central location in the community to listen to a short educational presentation by a speaker, share their experiences, have their blood pressure, blood glucose and weight loss tracked.
Participants often see improvements in weight, blood glucose, blood pressure, and energy levels. Many have seen significantly reduced household expenditure on food and medication. Apart from all the health improvements, the programme also looks at fitness and motivational coaching, cooking classes and offers skills development and small business development.
Food habits have progressively changed in the last few decades. The combination of changes in food patterns and a sedentary lifestyle has contributed to a significant increase in the prevalence of obesity, T2D and other metabolic diseases. Efforts in uplifting community nutrition should now focus on three key aspects: nutrition education in schools and the community, food safety, and enhanced culinary skills in all age groups. In order to face these challenges, community nutrition coaches and professionals need training/courses like the Nutrition Network’s latest Eat Better – Group Facilitation training that has been carefully developed inclusively, with the community and schools in mind, to bridge the gap and remain consistent with health promotion.
We have worked closely with Nutrition Network to develop a comprehensive step-by-step guide, modelled after our highly successful EBSA intervention programme. The Nutrition Network is an education, connection and learning platform founded by The Noakes Foundation in partnership with an esteemed team of doctors and scientists. The platform has been designed exclusively for medical practitioners across all disciplines, covering the latest and most up-to-date science and research in the field of Low Carb Nutrition.
Using the EBSA Programme model, which combines nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions, the Nutrition Network’s latest Eat Better – Group Facilitation Training will equip community coaches and professionals, with sustainable and achievable goals in health promotion, as well as access to a strong network of health professionals across the globe.
Past research has suggested that community nutrition is one of the most effective front-line strategies in health promotion and is an obligatory area to be included in every health plan. We hope to continue effecting positive change with the blueprint and roadmap to coach communities in a group setting, and believe that the Nutrition Network’s Eat Better – Group Facilitation Training will close this much needed gap in the industry.
To find more information check out our course page here or contact the Nutrition Network team at email@example.com.
Aranceta, J. Community nutrition. Eur J Clin Nutr 57, S79–S81 (2003). Available at: https://www.nature.com/articles/1601823
Caruso, C. (2020). These Are the 13 Most Pressing Global Health Issues This Decade. Global Citizen. Available at: https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/most-urgent-health-challenges-for-the-2020s/?gclid=CjwKCAiAyPyQBhB6EiwAFUuakvi5JtGuy-3GpWGoMp52MF_0eDv-DG_JajBqESQMS2ethtI2oBzrWhoCaQQQAvD_BwE
The epidemic of obesity is now recognised as one of the most…, (2019). Prevalence of Obesity, World Obesity. Available at: https://www.worldobesity.org/about/about-obesity/prevalence-of-obesity#:~:text=If%20current%20trends%20continue%2C%20it,affected%20by%20obesity%20by%202025.
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