Michigan Hospitals Partner to Combat Childhood Obesity

Paige Hathaway

This guest post is by Paige Hathaway, member relations representative at the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.

Gov. Rick Snyder, during his second State of the State speech, announced Pure Michigan Fit, a collaborative pilot program between Gerber, health care providers, grocers and the state. Under the initiative, parents and caregivers will get the nutritional information they need to raise healthy children and combat childhood obesity.

The multiyear program focuses on four components:

  1. Breastfeeding as the best first nutrition for children
  2. Limiting juice consumption
  3. Switching from drinking whole milk to low-fat milk (skim or 1 percent)
  4. Focusing on nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables

By establishing good eating behaviors early, parents can help their children prevent health issues like obesity and related diseases later in life.

Healthy Food Hospitals Campaign

Michigan hospitals have a longstanding commitment to improving the health and well-being of their patients and local community. In 2010, the MHA launched the Healthy Food Hospitals campaign aimed at helping to combat the state’s obesity crisis by improving the nutrition of the food hospitals serve to patients, staff and visitors.

Healthy Food Hospitals gives Michigan hospitals the tools to systemically improve the nutrition of the food choices available to all people who are treated at, work in, or visit hospitals. There are four “stars” in the program which address healthy eating and weight management:

  1. Adopt pediatric patient default menus for children ages 2 to 18 that meet American Heart Association guidelines
  2. Serve milk without the recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH)
  3. Label food nutritional content in cafeterias
  4. Commit to sourcing at least 20 percent Michigan-grown, produced and processed foods

To date, more than 100 Michigan hospitals have signed up for the program, which was created by the MHA’s Michigan Healthy Food Work Group using expert input, guidance and best practices from Michigan dieticians and nutritionists.

Pure Michigan Fit is a public-private partnership between Gerber/Nestle, the MHA, Michigan Grocers Association, Michigan Department of Community Health, Michigan Food Policy Council, Michigan Department of Human Services, Michigan State Medical Society, Michigan Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics, Michigan Osteopathic Association, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and the Michigan Department of Education.

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