On the heels of its successful efforts at the American Dietetics Association (ADA) annual convention, in Philadelphia, the beef industry gathered together leaders in the nutrition and food media fields to further expand on beef's benefits.

More than 50 professionals were invited to the Greenbrier Resort, in West Virginia, to hear from leading authorities the reasons it is important to recommend beef in healthful diets.

The event, called "Enjoy Today, Explore Tomorrow," involved spokespersons for the ADA, members of the beef industry's Council for Women's Nutrition Solutions (CWNS) and influential nutrition and health reporters. Communications with these individuals is crucial, as they write articles, give speeches, provide widespread nutrition advice and regularly interact with the media. The event was funded by the beef checkoff and coordinated on behalf of the Cattlemen's Beef Board and state beef councils by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA).

In addition to informational seminars on issues ranging from nutrition to food safety and enjoyment, the participants had opportunities to attend hands-on sessions in the culinary arts and enjoy one-on-one and small group discussions on key topics. Futurist Watts Wacker presented information on what the future holds, while noted chefs Alton Brown and Grady Spears provided unique demonstrations of recipes featuring beef.

Among the sessions held with the group were: "The Psychology of Taste: Enjoying a Healthy Lifestyle," "Cognition through the Lifecycle," "Bone Health Update" and "Is it in the Genes? The Role of Genetics in Weight Management and implications for the Nutrition Professional."

In addition, researcher Donald Layman, University of Illinois, joined two members of the beef industry's CWNS group to discuss groundbreaking research in protein and weight reduction, in a session called "Macronutrient Insights: Protein and Fat."

"This event reached out to individuals who hold important thought leader roles with consumers," said Wade Zimmerman, a Colorado beef producer and chairman of the Joint Nutrition and Health Committee.

"Communicating with these thought leaders gives us the best chance of making sure our messages about beef and nutrition gets broad and comprehensive circulation."

About 11,000 dietitians attended the ADA annual conference, where the beef industry sponsored a booth, seminars, special events and a beef dinner. A key message delivered to dietitians, at the meeting, involved ground beef's new nutritional profile.

Thanks to beef checkoff efforts, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released new nutritional data on ground beef that shows that 95% lean ground beef meets government guidelines for "lean;" it is low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.

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