DALLAS, Oct. 14 – The American Heart Association is introducing the newest in a series of Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses designed to promote healthier habits for Americans. The CME Smart Food Shopping: Helping Consumers Build a Healthy Diet, is being released at this year’s Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo – the annual conference of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics -- held this year in Boston, Massachusetts. The free course was designed with registered dietitians, family physicians and nutrition professionals in mind and focuses on tools and resources they can use to guide Americans towards making better selections when shopping and preparing healthier meals at home. It follows the American Heart Association’s policy concentrating on overall dietary quality and making science-based recommendations on healthy eating patterns.

Nutrition contributes to poor health, yet many health and medical professionals lack training for how to speak to patients and where to direct them in their quest for adopting healthier habits. The new CME, produced in collaboration with the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and featuring Facts Up Front, a joint initiative of GMA and the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), is part of an on-going effort to “bring cooking back to life.” This course provides tools and tips to meet the needs of health professionals helping them engage with patients and address how to counsel and encourage families towards healthier eating habits.

Key resources highlighted include the American Heart Association’s Heart-Check mark – a tool that helps consumers easily spot heart-healthy foods with confidence; the Nutrition Facts Panel and Facts Up Front, a nutrition labeling system providing fact-based nutrition information on the front of packages.  “This course fills a gap for medical and health professionals, offering us guidance and techniques to counsel families on the benefits of healthy behavior changes, budgeting and identifying healthier food options to improve family nutrition,” said Mary Cushman, MD, MSc, Professor of Medicine, Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont, and an American Heart Association volunteer.

“Understanding how to find and use important information about the nutritional profile of their food products empowers consumers who want to make informed purchasing decisions,” said Mary Sophos, Executive Vice President at GMA. “Through this educational effort, we are giving consumers the resources to make healthy eating easier.”

Although targeted towards health and nutrition professionals, anyone who is interested in creating life-long behavior changes within their diet, will find this course beneficial.  Physicians, Nurses, Pharmacists, and Dietetic Professionals may earn continuing education credits. For full accreditation information on Smart Food Shopping, please visit heart.org/ShopSmartCE.


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke –  the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) is the trade organization representing the world’s leading food, beverage and consumer products companies and associated partners. The U.S. food, beverage and consumer packaged goods industry has facilities in 30,000 communities, generates $1 trillion in sales annually, contributes $415 billion in added value to the economy every year and is the single largest U.S. manufacturing industry with 1.7 million manufacturing workers.  Founded in 1908, GMA has a primary focus on product safety, science-based public policies and industry initiatives that seek to empower people with the tools and information they need to make informed choices and lead healthier lives. For more information, visit gmaonline.org.

Accredited Media Inquiries Only: Barb Bennett, American Heart Association, 214-706-1325; barb.bennett@heart.org