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NUTRITION DETECTIVES® "Teaching Kids to Make Healthy Choices"

Nutrition DetectivesNutrition Detectives is an exciting nutrition education program for elementary school children that is "Teaching Kids to Make Healthy Choices." They learn how to read food labels, detect marketing deceptions while simultaneously learning to identify and subsequently choose healthy foods. The program has been taught in schools throughout the country and data are currently being collected in Independence Missouri. There is opportunity to disseminate the program using a 'train-the-trainer' model, in which high school students are trained to teach younger students. The program is novel, creative, engaging, and efficient, imparting crucial information in minimal time.
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ABC for Fitness© (Activity Bursts in the Classroom)

ABC for FitnessSchools have reduced physical activity for children over recent years. This latter trend is largely due to the conversion of physical education time into time devoted to other subjects in preparation for standardized testing. The ABC for Fitness program shows schools how to restructure physical activity into multiple, brief episodes of activity into classrooms throughout the day without taking away valuable time for classroom instruction. The attached manual provides instruction for teachers to incorporate short bursts of activity at the beginning of each class. ABC for Fitness can ensure that children obtain the level of physical activity that is essential for good health and well being.

» Click here to download the ABC for Fitness manual


Nutrition Navigation on-Line Edge (Nnoledge)

This NIH funded study supports the development of a diabetes prevention and control community web portal. The portal will feature an innovative personalized impediment profiling tool and reward program. The program will be used by community consortiums for weight loss and diabetic health interventions within their communities. The technology also offers the promise of financial benefits, specifically the ability to provide ongoing support through fees and financial incentives for residents and community organizations to participate. The program blends new financial opportunities with progress toward leading health indicators of Healthy People 2010.


Nutrition Quality Labeling

An International 13 member expert scientific panel, along with Dr David Katz and the Yale Griffin Prevention Research Center (PRC) has developed an algorithm that will allow families to compare the nutritional quality of foods by giving each food a "nutrition quality score". This will enable consumers to choose the healthiest foods in the supermarkets as well as choose healthier options among foods that are not considered healthful, chips and crackers for example. Consumers can receive personalized feedback on the nutritional content of their purchases, and use the system to monitor and improve their dietary patterns. The consumers will be reached at point of purchase in supermarkets thus optimizing access and reach.

Nutritional analysis of the cumulative contents of the "shopping cart" over time, along with tailored messages, will be linked to the supermarket barcode scanning system and provided to shoppers at supermarket checkout. Messages to shoppers will be cast in terms of the "nutritional environment" they are creating for themselves and other members of their household.

This project provides benefits for both the academia and the supermarket industry. The partnership gives academic researchers access to an environment for testing the theory that targeted messaging at the point of sale will improve food selections, and thereby potentially improve health outcomes. Supermarkets can benefit from development of a new product that they can supply to the public with the competitive advantage of their installed base of supermarkets.


NICHE (Novel, Interactive Cell-phone Technology for Health Enhancement)

This program was developed by a high-tech start-up company called Confidant Systems, Inc. (www.confidantinc.com). This program involves a novel wireless remote patient monitoring and response system, centered around mobile phone technology, that translates scientifically supported knowledge for chronic disease management into action by providing easily followed daily coaching using the patient's own data, for diseases such as diabetes and other obesity related disorders. Results of a pilot study, funded by NIH with Type 2 diabetic patients show great promise and suggest that the Confidant system has legitimate potential to improve glycemic control and self-efficacy in managing diabetes.


OWCH (On-line Weight management Counseling program for Healthcare providers)

The program is designed to break the existing impasse between insurers and providers. Providers claim lack of reimbursement as a reason not to counsel; insurers cite lack of counseling, and lack of evidence of the effectiveness of counseling, as a reason not to reimburse. This impasse has persisted for some time, and greatly attenuates the potential role of the health care setting in combating epidemic obesity and attendant chronic disease.

A web-based 'obesity prevention and control' clearinghouse will be created, housing a state-of-the-art self-study program for clinicians in obesity/lifestyle counseling. The lifestyle counseling program is based on a novel counseling construct, developed by Dr Katz, called the Pressure System Model*. The model has been tested in a clinical trial funded by the American Heart Association and has been presented at The 2006 National Obesity Action Forum in Washington DC. The program will offer CME credit, and lead to 'credentialing' in obesity counseling. Insurers (private and/or public) will then be asked to reimburse the obesity/lifestyle counseling of 'credentialed' providers, knowing that such providers have been instructed in the best available counseling techniques/approaches. Further, the website will provide standard quality control indicators (e.g., age and sex-adjusted BMI relative to standard growth curves for the pediatric population) to be included in the medical record as an indication that counseling conforms the highest standards. Insurers will be able to track these indicators in chart audits as a means of assessing process.

Effectively engaging the 'army' of primary care providers in the war against obesity is a vital component of a winning strategy. Breaking the counseling/reimbursement impasse is a crucial first step. The proposed initiative offers great promise in advancing the cause of curtailing epidemic obesity among all age groups in the United States, and further, in demonstrating the cost-effectiveness of doing so.

*Katz DL. Behavior modification in primary care: the pressure system model. Prev Med. 2001 Jan;32(1):66-72.


Good to Go Gang (GtGG)

The Good to Go Gang (GtGG) has the potential to engage children's interest by making nutrition instruction entertaining and interactive. It is posited that fun, participatory activities will inspire positive changes in children's eating behaviors. Dr. Katz is currently collaborating with a group of companies on the development of a school lunch kit that include a highly nutritious meal, action figures, and a comic book that conveys engaging messages about health. The program has been piloted successfully in Broward County, Florida.

The GtGG Lunch Kit, consists of : a) low fat chicken entrée (2 oz. Perdue chicken breast 97% fat free) b) 4 pieces of whole grain Melba toast and c) option of adding fruit, vegetable and/or dairy to accompany it d) educational comic book promoting healthy eating and exercise e) 1 of 24 action figures based on the GtGG. All children are shown a video on healthy nutrition instruction and exercise starring the GtGG characters. Key messages are conveyed in the comic books and cartoon video that include increasing daily activity, eating a rainbow of colors everyday in fruits and vegetables, avoiding foods with trans fat and high fructose corn syrup, and choosing foods with more fiber and a short list of ingredients.