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When it comes to wellness in community rec centers, we usually think of group exercise programs and personal training. As equally important and beneficial to exercise is nutrition coaching, a service offered by a registered dietitian who provides nutrition services using evidence-based research in order to help individuals make positive lifestyle changes.

There are multiple ways community rec centers can provide these nutritional services. According to Amy Tackett, a registered dietitian nutritionist at the YMCA of Greater Dayton, “A starting point is to determine the community’s needs, as each has their own unique culture. A community assessment allows better understanding on what programs will best help their members.”

Some nutrition services can include consultations where individuals meet one-on-one to discuss goals and formulate plans, nutrition education classes that cover rounded topics, and medical nutrition therapy to aid in the management and maintenance of a chronic disease.

When thinking of implementing a nutrition program at your rec center, Tackett suggests an easy transition of adding onto an already existing program. “Nutrition coaching or consultations have been incorporated with personal training packages to determine the nutritional goals that best match our members’ training plan,” she said. “This has shown success throughout our association.”

And according to Tackett, nutrition programs can benefit the entire community. “While our nutrition education classes are incorporated more into our exercise and evidenced-based health programs, nutrition services extend further into the community by collaborating with our corporate partners and community organizations,” explained Tackett. In this way, the YMCA of Greater Dayton is able to offer services not only to Y members, but also to the public through scheduled one-on-one sessions.

As with exercise coaching, nutrition coaching faces similar challenges when it comes to accommodating different needs within the community. “It’s important to experiment and find what methods and tools work best for the success of different members and communities,” said Tackett.

Since the YMCA of Greater Dayton has 10 branches throughout the Greater Dayton area, each branch being a smaller community to the larger one of Dayton, Tackett further explains “different methods are utilized at each to best connect messages and information.”

When it comes to serving the community, Tackett’s favorite part about offering nutrition services is getting to help and impact the lives of others. “Nutrition affects the entire wellbeing, from daily confidence to long-term disease prevention,” she said. “Offering nutrition services supports individuals in the community to live their life to its greatest potential.”

Having called Dayton home for her entire life, Tackett’s community holds a special place close to her heart. “I am truly grateful to play a role in making a difference in my community by helping the individuals in it become happier and healthier,” she said.

Brittany Howard

Brittany is the editor of Community Rec Magazine. Reach her at brittany@peakemedia.com.

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