|Reviewers Comments: ||Well composed and clearly designed, this set of newsletters could be a useful tool for anyone looking for written information to provide to a senior audience. There are three volumes with twelve monthly four-page issues in each, and each issue is designed to be a part of the series. There is no time or date on any of the articles, so the series can be started at any time. If the intended use is not as part of a series or a monthly publication, phrases such as “last month we talked about….” or “next month we will discuss…” would have to be removed. Topics range from general nutrition subjects, such as healthy snacking and MyPyramid, to information about specific nutrients, such as fats, antioxidants, and zinc, to more disease specific nutrition information, for diagnoses such as colon cancer, arthritis and Parkinson’s disease. Disease specific nutrition therapy falls outside of the scope of Food Stamp Nutrition Education, but the topics may be of interest to this audience. Some topics are repeated multiple times. Although this newsletter was designed with senior citizens in mind, many of its general health topics and tips would be appropriate for any age group. |
The issues are divided into specific sections, including a section on fitness with different strength training and flexibility exercises, a recipe section, and a resource section. This is nice for consistency of the newsletters, and makes it easier for seniors to read and rely on. The recipe is often something quick and easy to prepare, and generally it is for just one or two servings, which is applicable to the target population. Nutrition information for the recipes is included on an inconsistent basis, some recipes include no nutrient information and others include just select nutrients. Nutrition Educators could modify these recipes to include more complete nutrition information. In most issues, the resource section includes information and answers about Food Stamps (eligibility, how to apply, using benefits), however some other resources include the YMCA, the Resource Directory for Older People, the SHARE Program (specific to Colorado), Medicare, and the Food and Nutrition Information Center. The address for the Food and Nutrition Information Center contains a misprint, the correct room number is 105, not 304. Another informative section in many of the issues is a sample menu. While this is an attractive feature, like the recipe information, the menus include nutrition information on an inconsistent basis. While overall they are healthy menus in accordance with the dietary guidelines, it would be more functional to specific audiences if information on specific nutrients were included for every recipe. Some of the menus may not be appropriate for those who are following specific diets (such as low sodium, or low sugar), so seniors should be encouraged to consult with their healthcare provider if this is a concern. Many of the menus included soft foods that would appeal to seniors, such as ice cream and applesauce. Other articles include information and recommendations based on MyPyramid and the dietary guidelines.
The overall design of the newsletter is generally appealing. The print is large and there is plenty of blank space allowing for ample readability. The graphics vary in quality and consistency (some are in color and some are in black and white), but are appropriate representations of the accompanying articles. The cartoon figures featured are always active older adults, which whom readers can identify. While there is no panel for mailing on the back, there is an optional “wrapper”, which includes a picture of MyPyramid and space for organization logo and a mailing label, and may be used if the newsletter is intended for mailing. It is suggested the newsletter is printed on yellow paper for optimal ease of reading and comprehension.