By Yvonne Shinhoster Lamb
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 8, 2007
Ann Selkowitz Litt, 53, a nutritionist who specialized in helping young people develop normal eating habits and maintain a healthy weight, died May 30 at Sibley Memorial Hospital after suffering abdominal pain.
Mrs. Litt was in private practice in the Washington area since 1981 and was a nutritionist for the Washington Redskins since 2002. She also was the author of "The College Student's Guide to Eating Well on Campus" (2000, 2005), "Fuel for Young Athletes" (2004) and the American Dietetic Association Guide to Private Practice (2004).
She served as a spokesman for several media campaigns, including the "Got Milk?" one, appeared on local and national television, and was quoted in numerous newspapers and magazines. She wrote a column for the Washington Parent for 10 years and was the nutrition consultant to Cosmogirl magazine.
Mrs. Litt, a consultant to the Sodexho food-service firm, frequently visited colleges, encouraging students to eat energy-laden and nutrient-rich foods. The "whacked-out schedule" that college students often keep, combined with insufficient exercise and being away from home, makes it difficult to maintain healthy eating habits, she said.
Mrs. Litt emphasized that students should always seek nutritional balance.
"If you can organize your schedules, get some regular exercise and learn to balance the choices available . . . you can graduate with your health intact and maybe a great appreciation for eating well," she wrote.
It is a message she also carried to Redskins players. "Once we can give them the right information on improving their diet, they can perform a lot better," Mrs. Litt told the Washington Times last year.
Bubba Tyer, the Redskins' director of sports medicine, said Mrs. Litt's work with the team made a difference.
"We love her around here, and a testament to her work here came when we had a meeting recently and the players all talked about how they need to eat more healthy and don't need as much fat in their diets," he said.
"She would take the players to the grocery store and go to their houses and teach them and their wives how to cook light, and they were constantly coming to her because athletes and all young people are bombarded with stuff on the Internet, and you go to a health food store and they're trying to sell you this and that, and she was just a beacon of common sense about nutrition."
Mrs. Litt was born in Perth Amboy, N.J., where she won a Betty Crocker cooking award as a teenager. She received a bachelor's degree in dietetics from Syracuse University and a master's degree in nutrition from the University of Maryland.
After forming Nutrition Consulting Services, she conducted one-day workshops across the country for dietitians on how to start a private practice.
Since 1997, Mrs. Litt presented an eating-disorder prevention program with psychotherapist Laura Ratner to schools and organizations across the Washington region. They had worked together for years with clients who had eating disorders.
Ratner said Mrs. Litt understood people and how to connect to them.
"She was incredibly motivating and inspirational," Ratner said. Mrs. Litt also was as "straightforward as they come and pulled no punches but was compassionate and caring at the same time."
Mrs. Litt mentored high school seniors, college students and recent graduates interested in pursing a career in dietetics.
In the early 1980s, she played a key role in securing licensure for dietitians in the District. In 1985, she was appointed to the Board of Dietetic Practice in Maryland.
She was a chairman of Nutrition Entrepreneurs, a dietetic practice group of the American Dietetic Association; a professional issues delegate for Consultation and Business Practice in the American Dietetic Association's House of Delegates; and the recipient of the Recognized Young Dietitian Award from the ADA.
Mrs. Litt, a fitness enthusiast, spent her free time traveling, playing golf and skiing.
Survivors include her husband of 29 years, Daniel Litt of Bethesda; two sons, Jordan Litt of Bethesda and David Litt of New York; her mother, Lenore Kohn of Boca Raton, Fla.; and a sister.