Environmental Change in Action

Moving from unhealthy food options at the church to making the healthy choice the easy choice

Here are some pictures of the food served yesterday during the Truth For Living course “Living Faith The Healthy Way”.

Topics covered: How to get 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables (displayed in 1 meal), serving sizes (using actual visuals like: baseball = 1c serving of romaine or spinach, computer mouse = 1/4c of whole grains like Quinoa, egg = serving of mixed nuts, deck of cards = 1serving of meat protein, 4 dice = 1oz serving of dairy, 6oz = 1serving of fruit in juice.

The pasta sauce was made of 4 ingredients: diced tomatoes, fat free low sodium chicken broth, cloves of garlic, and onions.

The class participants were amazed at the flavor and the reduced amount of sugar and sodium that can be achieved by making your own sauce versus purchasing a jar of sauce.

They were also impressed with how easy it is to actually get your 5-9 daily servings of fruit and vegetables.

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Multicultural Awareness Community Health Fair

Multicultural Awareness Community Health Fair

Last week health educator Laura Engelmann and intern Brittney Reilly attended the Multicultural Awareness Community Health Fair in the Atlantic City Municipal Building. They interacted with approximately 135 people, providing Health Fair attendees with a sample of fresh fruit along with literature encouraging the use of more fruits and vegetables in their diet. There were a few people that couldn’t identify the fruits in the fruit salad, and even more that admitted to needing to add fresh fruit to their diet. The event was also attended by several organizations including the Atlantic City Health Department, which provided Diabetes and Heart Disease screenings, Southern NJ Perinatal Cooperative, the Atlantic County Department of Health, WIC, SNAP, Family Services, and Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers. Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford, as well as other city officials, were in attendance.

Our next “food demo” is tentatively scheduled for May 16, 2013, at the Atlantic City High School East Campus (Viking Academy) from 10:00-2:00.

Health Fair attendees shared their experiences in the ongoing walking challenge sponsored by the ShapingNJ grant. One city employee has already lost weight and as a result has had to have her pants taken in. The walking challenge is to conclude on May 15, 2013. As an extra incentive to the participants, the workers union, Atlantic City White Collar Professional Association, has agreed to add $100 in ShopRite gift certificates to the drawing for an additional four $25 winners.

Healthy Food Demonstration

Healthy Food Demonstration

Earlier this week AtlantiCare Health Educator Laura Engelmann and Richard Stockton College intern Brittany Reilly partnered with the Atlantic City Health Department to provide health education to city employees and residents at a diabetic screening in City Hall. During the two-hour event they provided nearly 100 people with information about incorporating healthy foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, into their diet. Fresh fruit and homemade trail mix was served, and the trail mix recipe was handed out. AtlantiCare was welcomed by city employees and residents and individuals appeared receptive to the information. Our next food demo is scheduled for April 3rd during AtlantiCare’s Community Walking Challenge Kick-Off from 10 a.m. to noon at City Hall.

Atlantic City Walking Paths and Produce Program

On March 15, our team toured the three parks in Atlantic City where we will be establishing walking paths. In addition to the walking paths, we will be displaying signage at each site promoting the benefits of walking. We are working closely with the Atlantic City Health Department to complete these endeavors. We are also working with the local supermarket, Save-A-Lot, to set up a produce voucher system. We decided to partner with Save-A-Lot as many city residents shop at this store, and it is the only source of produce within the City limits until the Farmer’s Market resumes in July. Save-A-Lot is presenting our produce voucher ideas to their national office, and we anticipate a response in the near future. To complement our produce promotion, we will be hosting a series of food demonstrations within Atlantic City so that residents can learn new ways to prepare and enjoy healthy and fresh fruits and vegetables. We will be teaming up with the AC Health Department and the AC Housing Authority to offer these demonstrations.

AtlantiCare’s Healthy Community 2013

AtlantiCare’s Healthy Community 2013 project will target adults and families residing in the neighborhoods of Atlantic City with limited access to the Atlantic City Boardwalk for physical activity and little access to fresh produce and other healthy foods due to transportation barriers. Representatives from AtlantiCare and the Atlantic County Health Department met this week to plan the implementation of this program with the goals of providing opportunities for safe physical activity and increasing access to healthy foods in the target neighborhoods.

The group identified three parks in Atlantic City where walking paths could be established or where existing paths could be enhanced with signs detailing the benefits of walking. These parks are in neighborhoods accessible to a large percentage of Atlantic City’s residents and also offer a safe environment for exercise. Next steps in regard to the walking paths include: (1) contact Atlantic City’s Parks and Public Property Office and obtain approval for the placement of walking signs in the identified areas; (2) begin the design and production of walking signs and trail maps; and (3) finalize a distribution plan for trail maps and educational information to individuals in the targeted neighborhoods.

Relative to increasing access to healthy foods in Atlantic City, the group will be contacting the managers of farm markets and supermarkets close by to garner their participation in a produce voucher program. Residents in the target neighborhoods will receive $2 vouchers to be used for the purchase of fresh produce at participating markets. The AtlantiCare marketing department will design and produce the vouchers.

Finally, the group discussed holding healthy food preparation demonstrations at parent meetings at Atlantic City schools, at several of the high rise/apartment buildings in target neighborhoods, and inside a local grocery store. Demonstrations may also be offered in conjunction with the Health Department’s blood pressure screenings that are held throughout the city several times a month. One demonstration was scheduled as part of the Minority Multicultural Health fair to be held by the Atlantic City Health Department and the Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative on April 23.  At that event fruit smoothies will be demonstrated and sampled by attendees of health fair. Recipe cards will also be provided.