|Reviewers Comments: ||Right Bite is an informative series of thirteen newsletters, each complete with a corresponding handout. Newsletter topics cover all aspects of healthy eating, including label reading, proper serving sizes, physical activity, BMI, healthy snacking, cholesterol and heart disease, and calcium. The newsletters are 4 pages each, measuring 8.5” by 11”. They are printed using colored ink on thin white paper and have a space on the back to place a mailing label, if needed, with a preprinted return address (the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service).
Overall, the newsletters are well written and designed. The layout is visually pleasing, with large font, simple graphics and plenty of white space between articles. Each issue features a main topic, and several articles about that topic. Article topics are significant and health tips are within most people’s capabilities. Issues also include a relevant recipe, most of which are quick and very simple with few ingredients. Recipes do not include serving size, preparation and cook time, or nutrition facts information. Most issues also contain a word puzzle or game related to the topic, and a food safety corner, with appropriate food safety facts, and money saving tips for use while food shopping. The answers to the puzzle are only printed in some issues, and some nutrition information is repeated in more than one issue. There is no specified audience for the newsletter, and this can be confusing at times. In one article in the first issue, kids are told “if your parents say it’s okay, check out these cool games on the internet…” , while in a later article, parents are taught how to “pack a safe lunch for your child”. As a result, the newsletter would work best with parents and children reading it side by side together, as some articles contain complicated concepts and large words that will be difficult for young children to understand, and other articles contain games and short reviews more appropriate for children.
Handouts are also printed on 8.5” by 11” white paper, one-sided, with very colorful photographs and/or vivid graphics that are likely to grab a viewer’s attention. Most handouts have a large central picture, and a column listing the central message of the handout and several related tips. Photographs of people are all culturally diverse. All handouts also include the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extensive Service web address, the Arkansas FSNE logo, the Arkansas Department of Human Service logo and the University of Arkansas logo. The background on some of the handouts is slightly busy, which may make it difficult for some people to read the text. While most of the font is large enough to read, the font on the BMI handout is very small and may be difficult to decipher. Like the newsletters, children and adults will benefit the most by reading these handouts together.
While most of the information in the newsletter is valid, there are some minor discrepancies with government dietary guidance. The DRI for calcium, as noted in issue one, for adults age 50 and older is 1200 mg, not 1300 mg as listed. While most of the newsletters include information from MyPyramid, issue one refers to serving size information from the old Food Guide Pyramid. In the third issue, serving size information is listed incorrectly under “What is a Serving?” and again in issue seven, the serving size information in the MyPyramid chart is listed incorrectly. One technical inaccuracy noted is a link that is no longer current in the first issue. Finally, issue five recommends that readers buy a “good, low-cost cookbook”. With the number of good, low-cost recipes available free on the internet, including those in the FSNC Recipe Finder, this suggestion seems inappropriate. Despite these inconsistencies, Right Bites remains a valuable source of nutrition information for all members of the family to share together.