About one-third of Idaho children are overweight or obese. St. Luke’s Children's is partnering with community organizations to reduce those numbers by using a bright visual aid that helps kids understand what proper nutrition looks like.
Kids who come to St. Luke’s for a routine checkup will learn how to eat a balanced diet, thanks to a new partnership with the Idaho Dairy Council.
The Idaho Dairy Council donated 2,000 plates to St. Luke’s Children’s through ChooseMyPlate.gov, a United States Department of Agriculture campaign that uses brightly-colored plates to illustrate the recommended portion sizes for fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy.
According to the Community Health Needs Assessment for St. Luke’s Boise/Meridian Medical Centers, more than 80 percent of Idaho youth do not eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. Partnering with the Idaho Dairy Council gives St. Luke’s providers another tool to use when interacting with patients; providers will incorporate the plates into well-child visits for 4-year-old children in order to help parents and their children understand the concept of a well-balanced diet.
The MyPlate icon was introduced in June 2011 by First Lady Michelle Obama and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. The MyPlate image represents national dietary guidelines for a healthy, well-balanced diet.
The goal is to educate children about healthy eating habits by teaching them what should go on their plate at every meal.
According to Jean Mutchie, St. Luke’s Children’s YEAH! program manager, many Americans don’t know how many servings of each food group should be included in a meal. The result is an unbalanced diet.
“There are multiple benefits to including MyPlate in the context of a well-child visit,” Mutchie said. “This presents an opportunity for the provider to discuss with the child and caretaker the benefit of developing healthy eating habits early. The plate is also a great visual representation of appropriate portion sizes and identification of those foods that promote good health.”
This partnership allows St. Luke’s to further its mission to create lifelong healthy habits for people of all ages. It is a goal supported by Crystal Wilson, senior director of health and wellness for the Idaho Dairy Council.
“One of our goals through this collaboration is to instill healthy habits at a young age, so that these children will continue to make smart food choices as adults,” Wilson said.
Amy Stahl works in the Communications and Marketing department at St. Luke's.