New service lets your fingers do the walking to nutrition information

February 09, 1993|By Deidre Nerreau McCabe | Deidre Nerreau McCabe,Staff Writer

If you dial up the county's newest information line, don't expect weather reports or sports scores.

In fact, you may think you've accidentally called your mother when you hear messages such as: "Drink alcohol in moderation, if you choose to drink at all," and "Fiber in your diet can help prevent constipation."

These messages, along with dozens of others, come via the county's Nutrition Information Line, sponsored by the Anne Arundel County Department of Health. The number is 222-7367.

The new phone line is only part of an extensive network of nutritional information. County residents who want to eat better can take advantage of classes offered at local hospitals. And soon, they'll even be able to talk to Health Department dietitians at their neighborhood supermarkets.

The line, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, began Jan. 25 and will continue through the end of March, corresponding with National Heart Month in February and National Nutrition Month in March.

Health Department spokeswoman Evelyn Stein said the line was set up to respond to "the questions that people regularly ask."

The nutrition line offers information in eight categories, including fiber, salt, sugar, alcohol, weight control, fat in the diet and tips on variety in the diet. The line also offers information on the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Supplemental Food Program.

Each short message is followed with options for additional information the caller can select. Some give telephone numbers for referrals, such as to the county's alcohol and drug treatment program or to a county nutritionist.

But what if you've listened to all the messages and you're still a nutritional Neanderthal? What if your diet consists of junk food and fast food and you're just not sure how to incorporate healthy tips?

County hospitals, as well as the Health Department, offer a variety of classes and programs that can help put you on track to better nutrition.

As part of the county's cancer prevention program, the Health Department has contracted with two local nutritionists to provide healthy eating information at the county's smaller grocery stores. Although many county residents shop at these stores, such stores typically cannot afford to provide lots of extras, like nutrition pamphlets.

Mary Gianforte, a registered dietitian working on the project, said she and colleague Catherine Diblasi will go to the stores as well to offer information and answer questions. The program will focus on lowering fat intake, eating a high-fiber diet and adding more fresh fruits and vegetables. The dietitians will start their appearances next week (see accompanying chart).

Kay Patterson, manager of the Health Education Department at Anne Arundel Medical Center, said her department offers a number of classes pushing healthy nutrition strategies. The next class, "Diet, Nutrition and Exercise for Women," is offered March 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the hospital's education facility on Jennifer Road in Annapolis. The program, co-sponsored by the Annapolis Chapter of Hadassah, is free and will cover many basic tips.

Ms. Gianforte teaches a 12-week nutrition class for North Arundel Hospital, which covers aspects of good nutrition for people who want to lose weight. The next series of classes, which costs $120, begins March 31 and runs from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. for 12 Wednesdays at the hospital's professional center on Crain Highway. The hospital also offers three one-night classes dealing with nutrition for $5 each. On March 3, "Eating for a Healthy Heart: Low-fat/Low-cholesterol Foods" will be offered; on March 10, "Heart Healthy Grocery Shopping and Cooking;" and on March 17, "Living with a Diabetic Diet." Call 761-4000 for information about all classes.

Harbor Hospital Center will offer its "Heart Wise" program at the Glen Burnie Mall from 10 a.m. to noon, Feb. 17. The program features information on heart-healthy recipes and cholesterol screenings for $2. Information packets are free. The hospital offers a number of nutrition classes as well. Call 347-2563.

STORE DATES

GRAUL'S -- Cape St. Clair Road, Annapolis.

* Feb. 19: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

* April 2: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

* May 7: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

TRI-ME MARKET -- West River.

* Feb. 21: 10 a.m. to noon.

* April 3: 10 a.m. to noon.

* May 8: 10 a.m. to noon.

MAGRUDER'S -- Annapolis.

* Feb. 20: 10 a.m. to noon.

* April 1: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

* May 6: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

ROOKIE'S -- Annapolis.

* Feb. 16: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

* March 30: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

* May 4: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

BOX'N SAVE -- Glen Burnie.

* Feb. 18: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

* April 3: 10 a.m. to noon.

* May 8: 10 a.m. to noon.

LAUER'S -- Pasadena.

* Feb. 18: 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

* April 3: 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

* May 8: 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

JERMAN'S -- Gambrills.

* Feb. 19: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

* April 4: Noon to 2 p.m.

* May 6:4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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