Handshakes and Hugs (Hopefully) for SNEB 2022: Re-Engineering Nutrition Education and Behavior…Designing Tech Competence in Your Digital World | Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB)

Handshakes and Hugs (Hopefully) for SNEB 2022: Re-Engineering Nutrition Education and Behavior…Designing Tech Competence in Your Digital World

Posted by: on Wednesday September 8, 2021

The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic impacted all activities on planet Earth, including design, delivery, and evaluation of nutrition education and our daily nutrition behaviors. Educators, researchers, and policy makers rose to the challenge to continue service, study phenomena, and problem solve in the face of significant barriers. The 2022 annual SNEB conference will acknowledge and inventory these accomplishments to honor, inform, inspire, and design future health and nutrition education and behavior endeavors and venues. Modifications implemented to sustain our focus and productivity highlighted known concerns with technophobia by consumers and professionals and the need for retraining, but also revealed novel problems and prompted fast-track solutions, likely to persist post-pandemic. The examples are numerous: issues with tech equity and accessibility loomed large; lightning-speed virtual transition of face-to-face research projects, programs, and classes; introduction and/or required use of mobile apps for food banks, farm-to-market programs and government nutrition assistance programs; intergenerational learning; food procurement and preparation strategies; and privacy issues for collection and safeguarding of personal information. Health and nutrition educators, researchers, and managers have stories to share, ideas to promote, and questions that need answers. With the assistance of one of the newest SNEB divisions, Digital Technology in Nutrition Education and Behavior Change (DigiTech), the 2022 annual conference is planning to meet these needs.

This isn’t the first time SNEB has lassoed expertise to assist with introduction and adoption of digital technology. In 1984, the same year the MacIntosh personal computer was introduced, the Journal of Nutrition Education (as it was called at that time), featured a special issue to “help nutrition educators gain a perspective of computers: what they can and cannot do, how to use them to the best advantage, and how to avoid some of the pitfalls commonly encountered when incorporating them into nutrition education.” Guest associate editors Carol Byrd-Bredbenner and Suzanne Pelican included articles about computer-assisted instruction, menu planning, nutrient databases, nutrition software and incorporating color, sound, and graphics (!) in computer programs. Karla Vollmar Hughes
defined terms like “byte” and “joystick.” Pamela McMurray and Loretta Hoover diagrammed computer uses as informational, revelatory, conjectural, and emancipatory, and Helen Pyle Njus et al  emphasized the concept of nutrition software being user-friendly.
In that issue, JNE editor Barbara Shannon explained the absence of a research section noting that “…controlled research that examines computer use in nutrition education is scant…”  Fortunately, largely because of the micro-computer and digital revolution, research on the economic and health impact of COVID-19 and its attendant requirement to socially distance has been reported and applied in real time.
Working with program chairs Drs. Siew Sun Wong (Oregon State University) and Jared McGirt (University of North Carolina Greensboro), the 2022 annual SNEB conference is your opportunity to add to that body of knowledge, contribute to sustaining new best practices, and offer downstream innovations that are feasible, sustainable, compelling, and rewarding. Plan to participate (and shake some hands, get some hugs) in Atlanta, Georgia, July 29 – August 1, 2022. Learn more about the call for presentations, abstracts, and conference details at www.sneb.org/2022.