Since 1980, childhood obesity in the United States has more than quadrupled among children ages six to 11.
This Friday, when Darius Bennett turns his tassel, he’ll be one step closer to his goal of reversing this trend.
“I want to be a pediatric registered dietician – to work with children and promote nutrition education and healthy eating,” said the nutrition major. “If we are going to diminish the obesity rates in our country, we need to educate kids on what they are eating.”
Over the course of the past four years, Bennett has been doing just that.
In 2015, Bennett was one of eight university students across the country selected for a nutrition internship in Nome, Alaska. Sponsored by Norton Sound Health Corporation, a nonprofit health organization, the internship focused on providing nutrition education to kids in Nome in order to help decrease child obesity rates in Alaska.
“We designed food science classes, cultural classes and physical activity classes for the children,” Bennett said. “Our goal was to create a fun and engaging curriculum that increased their physical activity and promoted a healthier lifestyle.”
His academic experiences have extended even beyond Alaska. As a student in UNCG’s Lloyd International Honors College, Bennett had the opportunity to study abroad in Northern Ireland.
It was his time abroad that spurred him to start thinking about the cultural aspect of nutrition education.
“I was staying in a flat with people from three different countries, and I was really intrigued with the different foods we all cooked,” he said. “We all had different experiences with food because of our various cultures. For example, I had a roommate who had never cooked chicken.”
After graduation, Bennett will pack his bags yet again, as he moves to St. Louis, Missouri, for graduate school. In addition, he will complete a dietetic internship to become a registered dietician.
As Bennett prepares to leave Greensboro, it’s the people and the relationships he’s built that he will miss the most.
“I am going to miss the camaraderie,” he said.
Where does he see himself in five years?
“Helping kids lead happier, healthier lives.”
Don’t forget to share this milestone with the campus community on social media!
- Tag your posts #uncggrad, especially during the week of commencement. Your family and friends might see them on display before the ceremony!
- Look for our Snapchat filters at the coliseum on the day of the ceremony.
- Participate in the Alumni Association’s #UNCGNewAlum contest. Get the details at alumni.uncg.edu/uncgnewalum.
Story by Nancy Maingi, University Communications
Photography provided by Darius Bennett
Videography by University Communications