Byline: AScribe, The Public Interest Newswire
WASHINGTON, Sept. 22 (AScribe Newswire) -- In an effort to help prevent childhood obesity, juvenile diabetes, and other diet-related health problems, a coalition of parents and mission-driven food companies have created Eat Smart, Grow Strong, a campaign to encourage kids and families to eat better. While most initiatives working to address childhood obesity do so by promoting physical activity and healthier foods in schools, Eat Smart, Grow Strong is focusing on the home.
'Kids learn their eating habits at home, and those habits influence the choices they make at school, the mall, and everywhere else they eat for the rest of their lives,' said Susan Lamontagne, a parent and one of the campaign's creators.
Made possible with the support of Annie's Homegrown, Applegate Farms, Horizon Organic, Newman's Own, Newman's Own Organics, and Whole Foods Market - all companies committed to high-quality products and the health of families - Eat Smart, Grow Strong will encourage families to instill healthy eating habits at home.
'Home-made family meals tend to be healthier, children's nutrition is better, and the benefits are not limited to what's on your plate,' said Dr. David Katz, Director, Prevention Research Center, Yale University School of Medicine; Associate Director, Nutrition Science, Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University; and author of The Way to Eat. Research shows that young people who eat regular family meals eat less fried food and saturated fat and drink less soda. They also eat more fruits and vegetables and get more vitamins and other nutrients.
Eat Smart, Grow Strong will launch on Sept. 15 with an interactive website, events at Whole Food Markets (to begin Sept. 24), and a game for children to play while they grocery shop with their parents. Created for families with young children, the 'Supermarket Spy Game' teaches the basics of nutrition, how to read a nutrition label, what to look for in food - good and bad - and how to find healthier alternatives.
The campaign's website www.EatSmartGrowStrong.com offers ideas about how to make home and school more nutrition friendly. A forum for parents, it encourages them to:
. Share strategies with other parents that promote healthy eating
. Join healthy snack and supper clubs
. Find quick, easy (and healthy) recipes for family meals
. Play games that teach their children about nutrition
'A good way to affect lifelong eating habits is to reach young children and their parents with positive, realistic ideas and strategies about how to eat better. We want to remind families that they can eat healthy without sacrificing taste and enjoyment,' said John Foraker, President and CEO of Annie's Homegrown.
The campaign will encourage families to learn more about the importance of a healthy, balanced diet, and how good nutrition contributes to overall health. 'Eat Smart, Grow Strong is a terrific way for us to remind families that most children are not getting enough calcium. Drinking milk and eating cheese and other dairy products are great ways for kids to get the calcium they need for overall health and well-being. And when those products are organic, even better,' said Susan Lintonsmith, vice president of marketing for Horizon Organic.
'Quality over quantity is a terrific rule of thumb for families trying to eat better,' said Stephen McDonnell, a father of three and president of Applegate Farms. 'This is the message we will work to deliver to families - especially when it comes to meat - yet it applies to everything we eat.'
Eat Smart, Grow Strong's website allows parents to share strategies to promote good eaters and deal with picky ones. The campaign's creators spent two years compiling 'the best of the best' advice from nutritionists, pediatricians, pediatric feeding specialists, and parents to encourage better eating habits at home. Recommendations will focus on realistic strategies. 'Children who try a wide variety of healthy foods prior to the age of two have a better chance of being a good eater later,' according to Dr. Ramasamy Manikam, one of the nation's leading experts in pediatric feeding and diet-related diseases.
In research conducted for the campaign, parents said they felt undermined by the marketing of unhealthy products to children. Eat Smart, Grow Strong's healthy snack, lunch, and supper clubs will encourage parents to join together to promote healthy eating at home, in school, and on the playground.
'When children know what their food choices really mean, they make better choices,' said Lamontagne. One tool that can help is the 'Supermarket Spy Game,' which families can get free at any participating Whole Foods Market or by ordering it online (and paying shipping and handling). On Saturday, September 24, Whole Foods Market will kick off the campaign with events for kids from 9 AM - Noon at more than 30 stores in Baltimore MD, Charlottesville VA, Columbus OH, Louisville KY, New York NY, Philadelphia PA, Pittsburgh PA, Princeton NJ, and the Washington, DC metro area.
For more information visit www.EatSmartGrowStrong.com
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CONTACT: Susan Lamontagne or Andrea Miller, (000)-000-0000 or (000)-000-0000