North Dakota Nutrition Council


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Legislative Update Fall 2018

2018 Election Results: Our elected candidates decide how to spend funds and I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those rare individuals who can find enjoyment watching the legislative in action. A person gets the chance to watch how funding trickles down to agencies, causes, or even a grassroots effort. I am also aware how advocacy, simply defined as supporting or encouraging a cause for certain groups (including NDNC), can play a vital role in guiding how we as nutrition professionals can provide education and/or fulfill job duties.

Take diabetes education as an example, a person can advocate and work with different agencies to have health insurance companies improve coverage for diabetes education; you could advocate for schools to fund a school health nurse or the “Safe at School Campaign” through the American Diabetes Association; or individuals could speak up for individuals with limited resources who may not be able to afford diabetic supplies. Also, a simple way to advocate would be to visit the website, fill out your name on premade letters, which were available in October, and email federal legislators about funding obesity education and malnutrition, both of which may help diabetes education in a roundabout way. The letters are an easy way to advocate, simply sign your name and hit send, but do you make yourself aware of these opportunities? Do you advocate and are you reaching the right people?

I know I tend to not always be a good nutrition advocate, especially around the holidays. At times, being caught trying to draw the line of supporting good nutrition is hard because I want to also be the cool person who brings the best loved sugary treat to the potluck. Also, it is easier in rural North Dakota to bake something than it is to bring a fruit or vegetable side dish that will need to hold up (as I consider travel time home from the store, preparation, and then transporting it again to the final destination). Plus, I don’t want to see my money and hard work thrown away as the possibly discolored, wilted-looking healthy side dish gets tossed in the trash as people make their way to the dessert table. Ah, the dilemma of a nutrition professional. So, I try to find another way to advocate nutrition as I head into the holiday, a.k.a. potluck season, and I hope you do too, especially with the new legislative year starting.

So how can you do this? Take time to review upcoming legislative news and updates relating to nutrition, and even take a few seconds right now to send one of those premade letters to your congressperson on the “Take Action” link at Need other ideas on how to advocate and become more informed about current legislative issues? See a few ideas below:

Get more involved with a passion topic. It’s great you want to help promote diabetes education or end hunger, but now take a second to research the topic and find others who also are passionate about the same cause. Even send letters or make the phone calls to elected officials; but whatever your passion, by taking a moment and researching a topic online including social media, you can find other professionals working on the same cause and have a bigger voice and who knows, you may start the next grassroots effort.

Visit and scan the 4 subtopics for ideas. The topics include: Legislation and Public Policy Issues, Licensure, Take Action, and Political Action Committee. By visiting this site monthly a nutrition professional can learn upcoming federal and sometimes state legislative issues to be discussed, learn how to promote their profession, and much more.

Sign up to receive automatic news or press releases updates from various agencies. For instance, at the state level in North Dakota, visit to get updates on current issues in the Department of Health. These at times will even give out public input meetings for upcoming North Dakota Department of health issues.

Also, choose to look up the upcoming state legislative assemblies and who your legislators are. In North Dakota information on the upcoming 66th Legislative assembly can be found at Also, choose to follow senate or house bills throughout the process as the go through the legislative year, both at the state and federal level. You can sign up to follow a bill’s progress through hearings or voting. You can pick which bills you may want to follow or give input on which may include funding for specific government agency or even just following last sessions legislative bill covering Cottage Food Laws in North Dakota.

Lastly, if you have other ways you stay current with legislative issues or ideas on how we can work together within the North Dakota Nutrition Council to promote our cause share them on Facebook  Let’s start a conversation together on how we can be our own advocates during the upcoming legislative year!

Janet Wanek, RDN

NDNC Vice-President

Filed under: ndncnews, ndnc news
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