SANTA BARBARA NUTRITION HEALTH COALITION

Our Mission

The overarching mission of the Santa Barbara Nutrition Health Coalition (SBNHC) is to improve the health and well-being of the Santa Barbara community, particularly socioeconomically disadvantaged populations, by developing and implementing innovative, culturally-sensitive, community-based, and evidence-based nutrition intervention programs.

This goal will be achieved by bringing together key stakeholders that will stimulate and facilitate the Coalition initiatives. These stakeholders include:

    • Philanthropic foundations
    • Nonprofit and direct service organizations
    • Nutrition-based companies
    • Academic institutions and research organizations
    • Policy makers
    • Health care providers, clinics and institutions

Plant-based Nutrition for Cardiometabolic Health

The Santa Barbara Nutrition Health Coalition’s first initiative will be to design and implement a community-based program that will examine the acceptability and health benefits of a plant-based nutrition intervention in a vulnerable population in Santa Barbara County that are disproportionately impacted by chronic disease and health inequities.

Through this initial project, we hope to determine how a plant-based diet, nutrition security, and culturally appropriate behavior education can make meaningful changes in the intergenerational health of families in our community. The experience, feedback and outcomes obtained from this initial project will help establish guidelines for future activities.

Background

Food can be “medicine” and promote health, but can also be harmful. The quality and quantity of calories consumed have a considerable influence on organ system function, overall health and disease risk. The current eating habits of Western societies are a major contributor to the development of chronic diseases, particularly “cardiometabolic” disease, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, dyslipidemia (high blood triglycerides and low blood HDL-cholesterol), and cardiovascular disease (atherosclerosis, heart failure and stroke).

In the United States:

  • 50% of adults have cardiovascular disease
  • 33% (88 million) of adults have prediabetes (90% do not know it)
  • 10% of adults (34 million) have type 2 diabetes
  • 72% of adults are overweight or obese.
  • 65% of people with obesity or with type 2 diabetes have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Nutrition information is often obtained from the media, the internet and other sources, which can be confusing because of contradictory and changing messages, contain misinformation and unsubstantiated nutritional claims, including advertisements from companies that promote nutritional supplements and individualized diets that are not adequately supported by research data.  Accordingly, there is a critical need to develop and disseminate evidence-based nutrition information and nutrition programs. We have the opportunity to help our community focus on disease prevention and improved disease management.

Coalition Partners