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Coastal professor receives award from national institute

November 24, 2003

A Coastal Carolina University professor received the 2003 Dannon Institute Award for Excellence in Community Nutrition for her "innovative and impactful" program on nutrition education.

Sharon Thompson, associate professor of heath and health promotions coordinator at Coastal, received a $5,000 award for her project to educate young female athletes about the benefits of changing their eating behavior early enough to prevent osteoporosis and boost bone health.

The Dannon Institute recognized five programs in nutrition education and communication throughout the nation. The awards program was created "to celebrate the accomplishments of local nutrition initiatives that have made a positive and significant impact on residents in the communities they serve."

Thompson's "Osteoporosis Prevention for Female Athletes in High Risk Sports" project has been delivered to more than 300 female athletes who have learned how to make nutrition and lifestyle changes that can build bone density and prevent injury.

"We hope that by recognizing and sharing the experience of these nutrition educators, we'll encourage others to undertake similar initiatives," said Cheryl Achterberg, dean of Schreyer Honors College and professor of nutrition at Pennsylvania State University, and a member of the Dannon Institute Board of Directors.

The other awards went to the "Color Me Healthy" program from the faculty from N.C. Cooperative Extension Service at North Carolina State University; the "EatFit Intervention" program at the University of California-Davis; the "Cornell Farm to School" project in Ithaca, N.Y. that links schools and farms to help children develop healthy eating habits and improve farmers' incomes; and the "Promoting Healthy Activities Together (PHAT)" program in Berkeley, Calif., created by California Adolescent Nutrition & Fitness.