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Opinion: Putting boots on the ground to boost seafood consumption

Seafood Nutrition Partnership's grassroots seafood promo efforts are getting results.

Linda Cornish, Executive Director, Seafood Nutrition Partnership

The Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP) grassroots education outreach program is working and we have gained many lessons learned that can be amplified by the seafood industry.

Since between 80 percent and 90 percent of Americans do not eat seafood twice a week, we have boots on the ground to build awareness of the need to eat seafood and help teach consumers how to eat seafood.

I can share that we have generated over 250 million earned and social impressions for both 2015 and 2016 and have secured over 20,000 Healthy Heart Pledges.

But it’s the testimonials of empowerment that people in our nine target markets share that is most compelling. A small doable request for people to take the Healthy Heart Pledge and eat #Seafood2xWk has been a powerful force of change in our local communities.

Seafood Is Saving Lives

In Oklahoma City, we had a gentleman named Rob Morris take the Healthy Heart Pledge and he ate seafood as his main protein.

Rob started out at 390 pounds and has since lost over 80 pounds after 6 months on a seafood-rich diet and feels that seafood saved his life.

The SNP OKC coalition of leaders are increasing their engagement by introducing seafood into charter schools, teaching dietetics students how to prepare seafood, and sharing the message that there’s great fish and shellfish available in Oklahoma City.

Seafood Is Inspiring Young and Old

In Memphis, we have a very strong faith-based outreach. Health coordinators from 17 local churches have taken the Healthy Heart Pledge to eat seafood twice a week for the next year to build a movement within their church congregations to eat heart healthy.

The University of Memphis Men’s Basketball Team is trying to eat more fish after hearing from SNP Board Member Detlef Schrempf on the need to eat healthy to maintain peak sports performance.

Seafood Is Providing Hope

In Charleston West Virginia, the local SNP team engages with West Virginia University and Marshall University school of communications students to share with their classmates the need to support their heart health since heart disease strikes so many in the Mountain State.

These students have secured over 2,500 Healthy Heart Pledges. People are excited to hear from Dr. Tania Babar, an SNP science advisor and cardiologist at WVU, that eating seafood twice a week can help reduce the chance from dying from either their 1, 2, or 3 heart attacks.

More People Are Shifting To Seafood

In Indianapolis, we have seen a shift in attitude towards trying to eat fish more.

When we began our work in Indy in 2014, folks were adamant that they were meat and potato eaters. Now after sharing the seafood nutrition message on TV, radio, print, providing seafood demos in grocery stores, health fairs, farmers’ markets, we are seeing that the attitude has shifted to a willingness to try seafood.

Here’s How To Help

We are deeply grateful to our donors and partners for the ability to affect people’s lives in such a positive way.

Please continue to support the SNP grassroots education program: donate, take the Healthy Heart Pledge, amplify social media messages using hashtags #Seafood2xWk #HealthyHeartPledge #Omega3s.

Behavior change is tough, especially if we go it alone. We need to not only tell people how good seafood is for them, but we need to show them how to eat it. Together we can continue to move the needle on America’s health status and in turn seafood consumption.

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Seafood Nutrition Partnership (SNP) is a nonprofit whose mission is to inspire a healthier America through partnerships that raise awareness about the essential nutritional benefits of eating seafood.

SNP leads education efforts to help Americans gain the skills to select, order and prepare fish and shellfish, and to inspire a healthier America by promoting a nutrient-rich diet that includes seafood and omega-3s. In October 2015, SNP launched a three-year national public health education campaign. For more information, visit SeafoodNutrition.org.

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