Emerging research suggests high-quality protein plays an increasingly important role in muscle maintenance, weight management, and disease prevention such as sarcopenia (involuntary decline in muscle mass associated with aging), type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. With the overweight/obesity epidemic growing and baby boomer generation aging, the benefits of high-quality protein have never been more critical.
To address this issue, the beef checkoff has coordinated a series of protein webinars to educate health professionals across the country. These thought-provoking and interactive educational webinars about the Power of Protein in Optimal Health are geared toward dietitians and other health professionals nationwide. Attendees are able to hear from leading protein experts who share their latest scientific research on the role of protein on several health outcomes.
“Despite popular perceptions, most Americans are not over consuming protein. And protein is a powerful nutrient at all life stages. It contributes to building muscle, improving energy levels, preventing diabetes and obesity and helps to manage weight,” says Nancy R. Rodriguez, PhD, RD, FACSM, professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Connecticut. “Sarcopenia could be the next public health crisis with the boomer/aging population; sixty-one million Americans are considered obese; and, 20.8 million have diabetes. The checkoff is addressing these issues with health professionals in an effort to aid them in encouraging their clients to achieve a level of protein intake that promotes optimal health, not simply meets needs to prevent deficiency.”
In October 2008, the beef checkoff coordinated the first of these webinars in conjunction with the Florida Beef Council. Members from the Florida Dietetic Association listened to the webinar during a sponsored luncheon which featured a recipe from the new Brand Enhancement campaign. An additional 181 nutrition influencers from across Florida dialed into the webinar. All of the attendees received checkoff-funded electronic protein resources to use with their clients.
On March 24, the checkoff hosted a second protein webinar in conjunction with state beef councils in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma. Hundreds of nutrition influencers dialed into the webinar to learn about the power of protein in optimal health and receive educational materials.
“Research suggests consuming 10-35 percent of your calories from protein is safe and beneficial,” concludes Rodriguez. “In today's economy, it is integral to share the message that beef is a premier high-quality protein, helping people get more nutrition from their calories, without sacrificing taste.”
A third protein webinar is planned in conjunction with the several Eastern State Beef Councils (Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut) in May and the checkoff will continue to work with other state beef councils to host regional protein webinars throughout 2009.
For more information about checkoff-funded programs, visit www.MyBeefCheckoff.com.