Monday, April 12, 2010

Loyola Takes Munchies to Task at Local High School

Faculty and students to focus on nutrition at Proviso East health fair

MAYWOOD, Ill. -- Sugary snacks and fatty foods will soon be shown the door at public schools across the city. This nutritional overhaul is part of an effort to implement new dietary standards and create a healthier environment in schools. However, city schools are not the only ones teaching students about healthy eating.

Faculty and students at Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing (MNSON) were ahead of this curve when they began educating Proviso East High School students about nutrition six years ago in Proviso East’s school-based health center.

“Students who fuel their bodies with healthy food are more likely to thrive in and outside the classroom,” said Joanne Kouba, PhD, RD, LDN, assistant professor and director of the dietetic intern program, MNSON. “Our programs help to encourage this behavior by teaching students to make more informed choices when it comes to nutrition.”

The school-based health center, which is supported by federal, state and private foundation funding, provides easy access to health-care services for students. The center’s nutrition programs include education, counseling, weight-loss guidance, healthy lunch groups and junk-free zones where students can eat nutritional snacks. These efforts are intended to enhance school performance, fight obesity and improve the health of students. The programs also have increased dietary variety for students and offered tips for healthy meals that they can share with their families. Loyola plans to expand its nutrition program next year with peer-support groups, cognitive behavior therapy and coping skills.

Healthy eating, diabetes prevention and obesity will be among the topics Loyola faculty and students address at Proviso East’s health fair. This event will take place from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. on April 13 and 14 in Memorial Hall at 807 S. First Ave., Maywood, Ill. High school students will have an opportunity to try healthy recipes and learn about positive lifestyle choices.

“Childhood obesity in underserved areas results from the perfect storm of inadequate education, poor access to healthy foods and other distractions such as violence, drug abuse and teen pregnancy,” Dr. Kouba said. “Our program attempts to curb these issues while giving students an outlet to eat healthier, lose weight and build self confidence.”


About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 88 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 119,000 employees.