Minority Health Month & the Dietary Guidelines for Americans
April is National Minority Health Month — a time when we turn our attention to health disparities and how making a difference in the health of population segments can be a tipping point to improve the overall health of our nation. This year’s minority health theme supports the goals of the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health: to achieve a nation free of disparities in health and health care. Minorities are far more likely than non-Hispanic whites to suffer from chronic and often preventable conditions. This is a particularly troubling statistic because chronic diseases account for seven of the 10 leading causes of death in our nation, many of which are associated with being overweight and obesity.
There is an emerging body of evidence that associates yogurt with a better diet quality and less weight gain overtime, two outcomes that are associated with better health. Moreover, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend three servings of dairy every day. Yet, many African Americans and other minority groups avoid dairy because they believe they are lactose intolerant. In fact, research shows currently 20.1% of African Americans consider themselves to be lactose intolerant.1
Yogurt can help some minorities with lactose intolerance meet their dairy requirements and manage chronic disease. Because yogurt contains cultures that help break down lactose and because on average it contains less lactose per serving than milk, yogurt is an easily digested option for many. Not surprisingly, in the Lactose Intolerance and Health Disparities Among African Americans and Hispanic Americans: An Updated Consensus Statement, the National Medical Association recommends consuming yogurt to help fill the dairy gap among those with lactose intolerance.
As we celebrate Minority Health Month, we can all do our part to help fill nutrient gaps across the country. To learn more about dairy and the minority health connection, please join a complimentary educational webinar on April 30. And, consider making your voice heard through the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) public comments forum.
Philippe Caradec and Miguel Freitas
Yogurt Every Day
1Lactose Intolerance and Health Disparities Among African Americans and Hispanic Americans: An Updated Consensus Statement. Bailey RK, Fileti CP, Keith J, Tropez-Sims S, Price W, Allison-Ottey SD. J Natl Med Assoc. 2013 Summer;105(2):112- 27.
Yogurt Every Day Nutrition Advisors
Keith-Thomas Ayoob, EdD, RD, FAND
Yvonne Bronner, ScD, RD
Constance Brown-Riggs, MSEd, RD, CDE, CDN
Sylvia Klinger, MS, RD, LDN, CPT
Robert Murray, MD, FAAP
Wendy Slusser, MD, FAAP
Things to Know
Dairy and Minority Health Webinar
Join a free professional education webinar “Minority Health and the Dairy Connection,” on Wednesday, April 30, from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. EDT presented by author and minority health expert Constance Brown Riggs, RD, CDE, a nutrition advisor to Dannon. The 1-continuing education credit webinar will explore nutrient intake trends and chronic disease conditions among African American and Hispanic communities, and review evidence of health benefits of dairy foods.
Consumer Behavior and Nutrition
Yvonne Bronner, ScD, Professor of Behavioral Health Sciences at Morgan State University and nutrition advisor to Dannon, recently participated in a panel discussion at the National Food Policy Conference in Washington, DC. The conversation brought together experts to discuss how cultural and economic factors impact the foods consumers buy, as well as how product innovation and reformulation has an impact on Americans’ diets.