Clatsop County kicks off nutrition hub


Nov. 18, 2019
By Sue Cody

Clatsop County joins Ontario and Klamath Falls as one of three statewide hubs for the Nutrition Oregon Campaign.

The county is collaborating with the OHSU Bob and Charlee Moore Institute for Nutrition & Wellness to reduce chronic disease — such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease — through nutrition and education.

Nutrition Oregon group 10_19

Research now shows the seeds of chronic disease are planted much earlier in life than previously thought, from before conception through about age 2.

Dr. Kent Thornburg, Director of the Moore Institute says health is dependent on the environment into which we are born, including nutrition and exposure to toxic stress. A mother’s nutrition affects the development of her child, and access to nutritious food supports both the mother and child.

On Oct. 28, he spoke in Astoria to a gathering of representatives from health care, nutrition, social services and education to kick off the Nutrition Oregon Campaign hub.

Thornburg says that there is a global epidemic of chronic disease. More people are vulnerable because of lifestyles passed down through generations. Poverty is perpetuated and the consumption of low-quality food becomes multigenerational.

With chronic diseases on the rise, the projection for the future is for more ill health. The United States spends more than other countries on health care and has a lower life expectancy.

Thornburg says the only way to change the direction of this trajectory is to act locally through high-energy, community-wide efforts. Disease can be reduced with a healthy diet and healthy community.

Clatsop County was chosen as a hub because it is proactive and determined to improve health in the community.

Building a leadership team

Following Thornburg’s presentation, Monica Cuneo outlined the policy for working with the Nutrition Oregon Campaign:

  • Developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) drives policy and research
  • Nutrition and healthy food for all
  • Schools and out-of-school programming provide early nutrition
  • Health care policy and delivery prioritize nutrition

The Moore Institute is the backbone of the hub, while the leadership team links and leverages work between community organizations.

Norma Hernandez and Tara Mestrich from the county Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program and Brooke Stanley, from Columbia Pacific Coordinated Care Organization, are the hub coordinators.

Representatives from area schools, hospitals, food banks, social service agencies and health care volunteered to join the leadership team and participate in monthly phone calls. They will identify with whom to align and map systems to implement the Regional Health Improvement Plan.

Hernandez says WIC’s partnership with the Moore Institute is vital because it allows them to serve pregnant women and children to create a better future.

For more information on the Nutrition Oregon Campaign, see


Diet and health research

A U.K. study shows that diet is the most influential underlying cause of death. Too many highly processed foods and red meat and not enough fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts were found to be the cause. (

Recent research shows plant-based diets result in a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular mortality and all-cause mortality in the adult U.S. population. (