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Grand Itasca Introduces New Program At Well Child Visits

7/16/2013

Grand Rapids MN – As an extension of Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital’s new wellness initiative, all two and three year olds who have a well child clinic visit will receive a portioned meal plate to take home with them. Aligned with the USDA MyPlate icon, the colorful plate has appropriately-sized portion areas with illustrations of the five food groups that are building blocks for a healthy diet: fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy. Using a familiar image for each food group, it teaches proper portioning and encourages children and parents to build a healthy meal each time they use the plate.

 

Grand Rapids MN – As an extension of Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital’s new wellness initiative, all two and three year olds who have a well child clinic visit will receive a portioned meal plate to take home with them. Aligned with the USDA MyPlate icon, the colorful plate has appropriately-sized portion areas with illustrations of the five food groups that are building blocks for a healthy diet: fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy. Using a familiar image for each food group, it teaches proper portioning and encourages children and parents to build a healthy meal each time they use the plate.

In Minnesota, nearly one quarter of all children (23.1 percent) are considered overweight or obese, and it starts early. The prevalence of obesity among two to five year olds has doubled in the last 30 years; now two of every 10 children that age are overweight or obese – a rate that is even higher in low income populations. With childhood obesity being such a clear problem, Grand Itasca hopes this effort will positively impact eating habits of children and their families.“We know that habits and behaviors are established at an early age, and that they continue to influence obesity, health and well-being throughout life. Having these discussions about healthy eating and healthy behaviors at age 2 or 3 is critical”, says Dr. Jan Rourk, Grand Itasca pediatrician. “The plates are a great visual tool during the office visit and then letting the children take them home helps to cement healthy eating concepts.”

As a participating organization in the Healthy Communities Partnership program, a three-year wellness initiative funded by Allina Health and the George Family Foundation, this effort goes hand-in-hand with Grand Itasca’s focus on the community’s health and well-being.

Generous funding from the Blandin Foundation and the United Way is helping this initiative get started. While providing the plates in the clinic is the primary focus, other community projects are being started as well. The Children’s Discovery Museum will be receiving interactive learning tools for their kitchen and snack shop that illustrate the MyPlate lesson and healthy eating theme. Additionally, select childcare facilities will be receiving plates and educational materials to use within their facility and as part of their curriculum.

This new initiative is modeled after the highly successful Reach Out and Read program, in which Grand Itasca has been a partner since 2006. This evidence-based program promotes early literacy and school-readiness for children seen at Grand Itasca by providing a book at each well-child visit starting at 6 months through 5 years. Funding for the Reach Out and Read program is provided by Grand Itasca Volunteer Services.

For more information about the MyPlate initiative or Reach Out and Read program at Grand Itasca, please contact Cassi Chrzanowski at 218-999-1444.

Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital is a non-profit, 64-bed integrated hospital and clinic that employs over 650 people, including over 60 providers whose specialties include Chiropractic, Family Medicine, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Oncology, Orthopedics, Pathology, Pediatrics, Podiatry, Pulmonology, Radiology and Urology.

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