February 2014

Jessica Donze Black RD, MPH  

School Nutrition: progress made, challenges faced, and resources needed

Do you know what children are eating for lunch at school? The school nutrition environment has changed dramatically over the past several years. Join us for this eye opening webinar which includes an overview of school nutrition and explores the progress made, the challenges faced,  the implications for children’s health and the opportunities for continued advancement in the years ahead.

Click here for more details and registration.  This webinar is provided FREE of charge.

COPE launches first issue of e-news

COPE has stared a quarterly e-newsletter to keep you informed of activities, educational offerings and the latest in obesity issues. See the first issue here and sign up if you're not already on our COPE contact list.

COPE Joins STOP Obesity Alliance

The MacDonald Center for Obesity Prevention and Education (COPE) based in the College of Nursing at Villanova University has recently been accepted as an Associate Member of the STOP Obesity Alliance, housed in The George Washington University School of Public Health.

“It is a great honor to be a part of the Alliance,” says COPE’s Director Erin Winterhalter, MPH, RD, LDN, CDE. The Alliance Steering Committee is comprised of national level organizations (for instance the American Heart Association, American Medical Group Association, The Obesity Society, and CDC) and is led by Scott Kahan, MD, MPH, director of the National Center for Weight and Wellness at GWU School of Public Health & Health Services.

The Alliance identifies and removes the public and private policy barriers that hinder prevention and management of overweight and obesity. The group takes action and makes recommendations to address obesity. “We will share research, join efforts on similar projects, and attend meetings with other associate members,” notes Winterhalter.

COPE Partners with Springfield School District 

The MacDonald Center for Obesity Prevention and Education (COPE), housed in the College of Nursing at Villanova University, brings worksite wellness to Delaware County in 2014. It’s a critical topic today since investments in employee health can improve employee productivity, decrease absenteeism and lower health care costs for the employer.

Springfield School District’s Director of Human Resources, Linda Bellace, identified a need for her staff and sought area registered dietitians who could assist her in programming a worksite wellness program. COPE was called to action as the district’s exclusive provider of nutrition seminars on professional development days, lunch n’ learns during the lunch hour, and will be a part of the district’s health fair this spring.

“We look forward to working closely with the faculty and staff of Springfield School District this spring,” says COPE’s director Erin Winterhalter.

Corporate Sponsorship

Here at COPE, we welcome the opportunity to collaborate with sponsors who share similar interests with our network of health professionals. As a sponsor of our monthly webinar series, your company will gain visibility with leaders in nursing, dietetics and fitness and be able to highlight your products and services. Since October 2012, COPE has attracted, on average, more than 400 participants for each free webinar. Don’t miss the chance to strengthen your image, build brand awareness and remind our listeners of your product over a period of weeks and months. Advertise today with leaders in the health community!  For more information contact Erin Winterhalter MPH, RDN, LDN, CDE or 610.519.5931.


Does your group share COPE's mission? The Center is interested in aligning with organizations having similar visions, such as governmental agencies, corporations, foundations, schools, other colleges and universities, and coalitions.  Start a conversation by contacting Erin Winterhalter MPH, RDN, LDN, CDE or 610.519.5931.


The MacDonald Center for Obesity Prvention and Education (COPE) is an non-profit organization.  To make a charitable tax-deduction directly to COPE please contact the College Development Officer - Julie Anne Smith or at 610-519-7538

Contact List

Be the first to know about our webinars and conferences. Join our mailing list by completing the COPE Contact Form.

US News & World Report

Looking for some good advice? See what COPE's director Erin Winterhalter had to say to a US News & World Report reporter on 'Healthy' Foods You Shouldn't Be Eating. The story was also picked up by Yahoo



Erin Winterhalter, Director of COPE, offered expert commentary to NBC10 yesterday for their story on the FDA banning of trans fats.!/news/local/The-FDA-Bans-Trans-Fats/231065151


The Philadelphia Tribune

Blue Cross launches health campaign in 20 area schools


The Philadelphia Inquirer

Five Phila.-area schools to begin wellness program



Obesity rates in the United States have reached epidemic levels and impacts people of all ages, races and socioeconomic levels. The rise in obesity and its related diseases has led to a call to action from all segments of society.  In response to this urgent need, the College of Nursing at Villanova University established the MacDonald Center for Obesity Prevention and Education (COPE).

Established in 2011 through the generous support of The MacDonald Family Foundation and The Take Shape for Life Foundation, the Center serves as a locus for interdisciplinary collaboration in the prevention of obesity through education and research.  It will support and foster the growing need for development of healthy lifestyles and behaviors among Americans. 


The mission of the MacDonald Center for Obesity Prevention and Education is to serve as a model for education and research that promotes healthy weight management and the prevention and reduction of obesity-related diseases across the lifecycle. 

A non-profit, the Center will support and develop educational programs and evidence-based services for health professionals, educators, students, families, community groups, worksites and the public. 


Through the united expertise of physicians, nurses, dietitians and other health professionals, the MacDonald Center for Obesity Prevention and Education will develop strategic initiatives to address the obesity epidemic nationally and globally.  The Center's goals are to:

1.      Provide continuing education programs on obesity and obesity-related disease for health professionals and educators.

2.      Enhance the education of nursing and other college students in nutrition, obesity prevention and health promotion strategies.

3.      Partner with health agencies, organizations and corporations to develop best practice programs for populations that are significantly impacted by health disparities and the obesity epidemic.

4.      Participate in research to expand resources that support evidence-based approaches for obesity prevention and intervention.

Non-Endorsement Statements

ACSM approved providership of this program does not imply endorsement of the sponsoring organization’s products/services.

Accredited status does not imply endorsement by Villanova University or ANCC of any commercial products displayed or used with an activity.

Continuing Professional Education Accredited Provide Status does not constitute endorsement by CDR of a provider, program or materials.

ANCC Accredited Provider

Villanova University College of Nursing  / Center for Obesity Prevention and Education (COPE) is a Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Accredited Provider with the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).

In June 2013 accreditation was granted with distinction, the highest recognition awarded.



The American College of Sports Medicine's Professional Education Committee certifies that Villanova University College of Nursing Continuing Education / Center for Obesity Prevention and Education (COPE) meets the official criteria for official ACSM Approved Provider status from (2012 - 2015).  Providership # 698849

#1 They are consistent.  Not only in their food choices but in their fitness routine, sleep patterns and timing of meals and snacks. People who are fit put their health as a top priority. When they are busy, they exercise and eat healthy. When they are tired, they exercise and eat healthy. There is no such thing as a lapse or relapse when behaviors remain consistent.

#2 They have a “daily menu”. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are similar from day to day. When there are several options for a meal or snack, we generally consume more than if we weren’t given a choice.  It does not have to be the exact same meal but there should only be a slight variation. For example, plan to have a salad every day for lunch but mix up the toppings. Add chicken the one day and salmon the next.

#3 Lean protein is a priority. Choose lean types of fish, lean cuts of beef and pork, and low-fat dairy products. By consuming adequate amounts of lean protein, lean muscle mass is able to be built and maintained which increases the metabolism. Lean protein is a sustainable type of energy that will keep you feeling full after a meal.

#4 They eat small, frequent meals. Eating every 3-4 hours will stabilize blood sugars as well as reduce the incidence of extreme hunger. This will lessen or eliminate the desire to eat high calorie, high fat foods when hungry.

#5 They are always prepared. Making a conscious decision to think ahead about your future food choices is a very important part of maintaining a healthy and fit lifestyle. For instance, if you are going to a restaurant for dinner, look at the menu and the nutritional content of the entrees beforehand. Also, plan to have a light breakfast and lunch. If you plan to be out of the house all day, pack energy-filled snacks to prevent hunger. This will also stop you from making a trip to a fast-food restaurant.

#6 They have regular “check-ins”. Whether it is on the scale, with a tape measure or with a pair of jeans, fit people make sure to monitor their body and keep themselves accountable. A weekly check-in can keep you on track.

#7 They know when to say yes. If a fit person wants dessert at dinner, they will say no to the bread or appetizer. The key is to learn when to indulge and when to pass.  Make sure whatever you choose is worth it!

#8 They get enough sleep. The average person needs 7-8 hours of sleep to function properly. Getting enough shut eye will uphold immune function, regulate your metabolism, and may give you the extra energy needed for performance. Prioritize sleep because the benefits are endless!

Tip #1: Banish Brown Bag Boredom.  Whether it’s a brown bag lunch for work or school, make it a healthy lunch packed with wholesome nutrition. Try whole-wheat couscous with chick peas or black beans; whole-wheat tortilla filled with chicken, mushrooms, onions and tomatoes; baked potato topped with broccoli, low-fat cheddar cheese and salsa; or spinach salad with sliced pear, red onion and low-fat feta cheese. Keep lunches safe with tips from

Tip #2: Snack smart. Include snacks as part of your daily calorie allowance and limit portions to one serving.  Snacks at your desk could be a piece of fruit, pre-portion snack packs, soup to go, popcorn snack size bags, and handful of trail mix – think roasted edamame, peanuts, and popcorn mixed together. Go for a blend of protein and high fiber carbohydrates! 

Tip #3: Don’t confuse hunger with thirst. Next time you feel hungry mid-day, think about how much water you’ve actually drank. Most of us consume fluids through the day- but often these fluids are caffeine filled which are not the most hydrating. If you can avoid dehydration, you can avoid overeating. So next time you’re hungry, grab 8 ounces of H20 and wait 20 minutes. See if that hunger is still lingering!

Tip #4Consult an RD! Whether you want to lose weight, lower your cholesterol or simply eat better, consult the experts! Registered dietitians can help you by providing sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice and put you on the path to losing weight, eating well and reducing your risk of chronic disease. Bonus for those of you who subscribe to the Villanova health plans through Independence Blue Cross. All health plans provide 6 nutrition counseling sessions with an RD. No copays, no referrals. Take advantage today!

Tip Sheets for download

Bigger serving dishes can cause children to consume more food. The authors of this study – read it here – conclude that bigger bowls cause kids to request nearly twice as much food, leading to increased intake as well as higher food waste.  Just like with adults, decreasing the size of plates and bowls may be an easy way to prevent over-consumption.

High body mass index (BMI) and large waist linked to hearing loss in women.  A new study has found that even after controlling for age, smoking, diabetes, hypertension, etc., that higher body mass index was correlated with a greater risk for hearing loss. A similar increased risk was associated with a larger waist circumference. A lead author suggests one possible explanation could be that obesity might compromise blood flow to the inner ear. Read more about this interesting discovery here.

The healthiest diets cost just $1.50 more than unhealthy diets. A team from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) conducted a meta-analysis of 27 studies that compared price points for healthy and less healthy diets. In general, healthier options like fruits, vegetables and fish are more expensive than unhealthy and processed foods but the overall net difference of swapping unhealthy food choices for healthier ones added up to $1.50 more per day. To read more about these findings, click here.

Institute of Medicine (IOM) releases Creating Equal Opportunities for a Healthy Weight - Workshop Summary. To download the report, click here.American Heart Association (AHA), American College of Cardiology (ACC) and The Obesity Society (TOS) Release New Obesity Treatment Guidelines  The AHA, ACC and TOS have collaborated to publish clinical practice guidelines on comprehensive treatment recommendations to help healthcare providers tailor weight loss treatments to adult patients affected by overweight or obesity. The evidence- based recommendations come from a systematic evidence review that summarizes the current literature on the risks of obesity and the benefits of weight loss.

Click here for The Obesity Society press release.

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) Supports the Sesame Workshop and the Produce Marketing Association collaboration with the Let’s Move! Campaign.  AND supports any effort to minimize food marketing of unhealthy foods to children and commends First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative which has recently focused on identifying solutions for improving marketing to kids to encourage healthier food consumption. This new deal intends to help promote fresh fruit and vegetable consumption to kids. 

Click here to read more about the AND press release.

The FDA proposes to eliminate trans-fat completely by retracting the GRAS (generally recognized as safe) claim. This major public health advancement will greatly improve the cardiac health of our general population.

Giving and Partnership Opportunities


The MacDonald Center for Obesity Prvention and Education (COPE) is a non-profit organization.  To make a charitable tax-deduction directly to COPE please contact the College Development Officer - Julie Anne Smith or at 610-519-7538 or Edward Stephen, Director of Development, The College of Nursing 610-519-5315.


Does your group share COPE's mission? The Center is interested in aligning with organizations having similar visions, such as governmental agencies, corporations, foundations, schools, other colleges and universities, and coalitions.  Start a conversation by contacting Erin Winterhalter, MPH, RDN, LDN, CDE or 610.519.5931.

Sponsors and Exhibitors

As a non-profit Center, COPE supports collaboration in the prevention of obesity.

For details on how you can become a Sponsor or Exhibitor email

Contact Information

Be the first to know about our webinars and conferences.  Join our mailing list by completing the COPE Contact Form.  

Want to contact us? Reach Rebecca Shenkman, COPE Program Manager at or 610.519.5818.