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March 2017 Theme: Nutrition

Don't just wear green for a day; eat your greens every day, too!

Nurses struggle with nutrition, just like the rest of the U.S. population.  Nurses face special challenges with healthy eating due in part, to shiftwork, limited workplace food options, and restricted access to meal breaks. ANA's health risk appraisal showed that nursing students and RNs have an average BMI of 27.6, which is in the overweight range (ANA & ICG, 2016).  Furthermore, the survey showed that 28% of the participants responded that healthy food choices were not available during work hours, 31% said their workplace did not offer nutrition and weight management classes and counseling; and 38% felt that healthy food prices were not comparable to other food prices at work (ANA & ICG, 2016). Below is a graph showing how participants scored in meeting the recommended fruits/vegetables (5 servings daily) and whole grain (at least 3-5 servings daily) intake.

Servings of Seasonal Fruits/Vegetables and Whole Grains
Per Day

Graph: Servings of Seasonal Fruits/Vegetables and Whole Grains Per Day

More encouraging survey results showed that 51% of the participants did not drink sugar sweetened beverages and that 58% ate out only twice a week or less (ANA & ICG, 2016). 

How can we improve our nutritional intake?  As nurses, we know what to do, but putting it into our daily routine can be challenging, so please visit the resources below from ANA, FDA, USDA, and our partner for this month:  the National Association of School Nurses.  These resources will give you different ideas and resources for healthier eating, nutrition, and diet-related topics.  Also follow ANA's social media campaigns, #FitNurseFriday and #healthynurse on Facebook and Twitter.


American Nurses Association [ANA] & Insight Consulting Group [ICG]. (2016). Health risk appraisal exploratory data analysis: November 30, 2016. (PowerPoint slides).

Code of Ethics for Nurses Monthly Tip
Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements, 5.2.

The Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements guides nurses in everyday practice in all settings, but also provides guidance for the individual care of the nurse. Interpretive Statement 5.2 of the Code states that “Nurses have a duty to take the same care for their own health and safety” as professionals who advocate, educate and promote the health and safety of others. In order to mitigate the unnecessary risks to health or safety, nurses should eat a healthy diet to foster a successful balance of satisfying work and maintenance of their own well-being. Eating a healthy diet can positively influence a nurse's personal and professional performance and serve as a model for patients and society.

Collaborative Partners

National Association of School Nurses

The National Association of School Nurses is a non-profit specialty nursing organization, organized in 1968 and incorporated in 1977, representing school nurses exclusively. NASN has more than 16,000 members and 50 affiliates including the District of Columbia and overseas. The mission of NASN is to optimize student health and learning by advancing the practice of school nursing.

National Association of School Nursing defines School Nursing as a specialized practice of nursing, which protects and promotes student health, facilitates optimal development, and advances academic success. School nurses, grounded in ethical and evidence-based practice, are the leaders who bridge health care and education, provide care coordination, advocate for quality student-centered care, and collaborate to design systems that allow individuals and communities to develop their full potential.

Please see some of NASN's nutrition-related resources below:

  • Better Health. Better Learning.™ e-Toolkit-Among the many excellent resources in this toolkit are a series of health and wellness fact sheets on childhood obesity, diabetes, and food allergies.
  • Childhood Obesity -This webpage includes NASN policy, toolkits, courses, and other resources to help prevent and treat childhood obesity.
  • Diabetes in Childhood -This webpage provides an authoritative listing of resources for managing childhood diabetes at school.
  • School wellness policies - This site also discusses the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004.