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MU program hosts free nutrition coaching clinics

MU dietetic students will provide free, one-on-one appointments this Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon.

Jennifer Anderson, MU senior research specialist and director of NutriZou, launched the program last August to provide nutrition counseling to people in Missouri who don’t have insurance.

The program existed under the MedZou Community Health Clinic, which offers free primary healthcare to uninsured mid-Missourians.

NutriZou has now expanded since last summer, with its target audience now including any adult that wants to change their eating behavior, Anderson said.

“I want to get the word out as much as we can to anyone who could benefit from our service, whether that be urban or rural, people that do have insurance, people that don't have insurance,” Anderson said. “Really, we’re trying to reach whoever might benefit from our service.”

Ashley Van Doren is a graduate student at MU, and she’s one of the several dietetic students who advises clients for NutriZou. She and other students are supervised by Anderson, who is a registered dietitian.

People have different financial means, food preferences and bodies, Van Doren said.

“I think that’s why an individualized plan is really important,” Van Doren said. “Because if you give someone something that’s cookie cutter, it’s not going to feel personal to them, and they’re less likely to stick to it.”

NutriZou offers in-person and virtual nutrition coaching appointments for clients, and the program accepts anyone interested, including those who are not MU students or faculty.

“Not only are we offering this free service to the community and trying to improve anyone's healthy eating, we're also serving as a training program for our future healthcare professionals,” Anderson said.

Sessions can be booked at the NutriZou website and are usually held every other Thursday. Clinics will happen almost every week starting in the fall semester.

Abby Lee is a student at the University of Missouri studying journalism and women’s and gender studies. She has interned with mxdwn Music and The Missouri Review.
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