One of the goals of the Argentinean Association of Dietitians and Nutritionists Dietitians (AADYND) is the promotion of initiatives to battle food insecurity. To achieve this, AADYND is working since 2010 in collaborative projects with the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, identifying and supporting socio-economic measures that contribute to optimal nutrition for the public, through the diffusion of accurate nutritional information and implementation of food and nutrition education programs.
The projects developed are within Ciudadanía Porteña, a food assistance program, implemented by the Department of Social Development from the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, wherein a certain amount of funds are assigned to low income families. The goals of the program are: to assist these families with a minimum earning to cover their daily basic needs, through a universal, direct and transparent process, to follow the beneficiary families in the education and health care of their children and to help them to be reinstated into the labour market. AADYND developed initiatives within this program, considering that food assistance programs must have a nutrition education component to increase their efficacy.
In 2010, the project “Healthy Citizens” (Ciudadanos Saludables) had outstanding results in terms of how nutrition education helped beneficiaries to better use the magnetic card of the program to purchase food products (the card allows purchases of food, hygiene and school supplies). During 2011 and 2012, the project “Healthy Families” (Familias Saludables) continued with the promotion of smart and healthy food purchases.
A massive graphic media campaign was developed to target beneficiary families, stores and other institutions, with three main topics: 1) Fruits and vegetables, 2) Women as family leaders and 3) Nutrition Labels. Along with printed material, dietitians were present at the stores to provide nutrition education. Subsequent gatherings with beneficiaries of the program were organized to continue with the promotion of a healthy diet when on a tight budget. Families were very receptive and participative.
Currently, AADYND is working on a project called “Healthy Families from the first months” (Familias Saludables desde los primeros meses) aimed at all beneficiaries of the program Ciudadanía Porteña and the women beneficiaries of the First Months Web (Red Primeros Meses) (dedicated to every pregnant woman under the Ciudadanía Porteña program). The program helps women with financial support and free medical assistance during pregnancy with the goal of early detection and intervention in case of premature birth, low birth weight or respiratory diseases, the main causes of child mortality. AADYND proposed that food and nutrition education be incorporated in waiting rooms to promote breastfeeding as well as opportune and effective solid food introduction. Along with this, a campaign of short animated films was initiated with the aim of promoting breastfeeding until 2 years of age and family healthy food practices. The films relate to 3 main nutrition education messages: breastfeeding, solid food introduction and healthy hydration. They are currently under development.
AADYND showed that collaboration within government programs is an essential initiative to reach and improve lives of the people we serve.