It’s not unusual that right after the holiday season, many of us will go searching the Internet for ways to get rid of that extra turkey and mashed potatoes weight we added on.
The problem is, what websites can you really trust?
At California State University, Northridge, graduate nutrition students have created a central hub, known as the CSUN Nutrition Experts website, for reliable information to help the university stay health conscious.
Nutrition professor and project leader Annette Besnilian explained that the new website, which went live earlier this semester, hopes to fill a need by bringing a reliable source to the community.
“The original discussion began in 2012 to get some sort of resource running,” she said. “We wanted to have the website be a resource. There are so many websites out there in the community. Who can you really trust?”
A survey was taken last year of the general student population, student-athletes and students who are also parents to determine what information should be housed on the site. The data collected showed that people wanted the site to have recipes, ways to create meals on a budget and methods for eating healthfully.
“The idea originally was that the website would have links that students can trust and go to. The student survey got a more adapted answer,” Besnilian said. “We knew that students who are parents and athletes were asking us a lot of questions about resources, so there is a section for families and athletes. Students said they want healthy recipes as well.”
Besnilian and her 12 dietetic interns worked tirelessly to mold and adopt a website that would be a central part of their learning experience and their future work as dietitians.
The interns are using the CSUN Nutrition Experts project as their last step before becoming licensed dietitians. Besnilian explained that she has high hopes for the students and the website’s development as a tool for students to get hands-on experience in working with the community and nutrition.
“It’s a great way to connect to our community — this school,” she said. “We want the community to think of us as nutrition experts, and CSUN is where I would go for trusted information.”
Besnilian and her team plan on administering another campus survey to see what else students would like on the website.
“I think, ultimately I would like to look into how we can make it a discussion board, or a place where students can ask questions and get answers. That’s in the future,” she said. “The dream is reality now and we need to move forward and expand.”