Partnership with Guiding Stars® Nutrition Guidance Program to Help Improve Community Health

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Promoting healthy eating habits through hospital system

EMHS (Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems), and Guiding Stars®, the world’s first storewide nutrition navigation program, announce a partnership to implement the program throughout its system of hospitals. The partnership seeks to benefit the health of local communities by helping patients, visitors, and employees within EMHS hospitals identify more nutritious food choices.

EMHS and Guiding Stars will work closely to implement the program at The Acadia Hospital, The Aroostook Medical Center, Blue Hill Memorial Hospital, CA Dean Memorial Hospital, Eastern Maine Medical Center, and Inland Hospital. Guiding Stars is currently in operation at Sebasticook Valley Health (SVH), which is also a member of EMHS. In each location, Guiding Stars will rate the nutritional quality of prepared meals, snacks, and grab-and-go items in each of the hospital’s cafeterias. Each item will receive a rating of zero to three stars for a simple, quick at-a-glance summary of the food’s nutritional quality.

“At EMHS, we are constantly looking for opportunities to maintain and improve the well-being of both our employees and our community and we are pleased to offer Guiding Stars at our hospitals,” said Jaime Laliberte, EMHS Total Health senior specialist. “Guiding Stars is a great addition to our system-wide Total Health strategy and this partnership will positively benefit our patients, visitors, and employees by providing them the information they need to encourage nutritious choices and promote healthy lifestyles.”

Guiding Stars was recently awarded patent protection for its nutrition rating algorithm, which is grounded in evidence-based science and the most current dietary guidelines and recommendations of leading national and international health organizations, such as the FDA and USDA. The Guiding Stars system credits all edible foods based on the presence of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and whole grains, and debits for the presence of trans fat, saturated fats, cholesterol, added sugars and added sodium. Food items are then awarded zero, one, two or three stars – one star means good nutritional value; two stars, better nutritional value; and three stars, the best nutritional value. If the item doesn’t receive a star, it does not meet the Guiding Stars nutrition criteria.

“EMHS is one of the leading healthcare systems in Maine and is committed to providing innovative resources that can improve public health,” said Katie Jones, client relations specialist at Guiding Stars Licensing Company. “We are excited to work closely with EMHS to implement Guiding Stars at its hospitals and look for other opportunities that can further help the communities served by EMHS.”

Guiding Starts officially launches at Acadia and EMMC on December 6, and at Inland, SVH, Acadia, and CA Dean in January and February.

About Guiding Stars Licensing Co.

Since 2006, Guiding Stars has been leading the way in helping consumers make nutritious food choices and recently received a U.S. Patent for the Guiding Stars nutrition rating algorithm. The Guiding Stars nutrition guidance program is a simple, easy-to-understand tool for making good nutrition choices and is designed to make a positive and lasting impact on public health. Guiding Stars is currently in more than 1,600 supermarkets including Food Lion, Hannaford, Bloom, Sweetbay, Homeland, Kings Super Market, and Marsh Supermarkets. Guiding Stars has also expanded into public schools, colleges, hospitals, and corporate cafeterias and appears on the Shopper mobile iPhone application. Additional information can be found at guidingstars.com.

About EMHS

EMHS is committed to helping the residents of the communities we serve have access to quality healthcare. By sharing resources and working together with all of our members, EMHS helps ensure that our aligned health providers have access to new technologies and the best medical protocols available, and the support they need to survive. This is why we say, together we’re stronger!

EMHS serves communities from Greenville to Blue Hill and Waterville to Presque Isle. EMHS members include The Acadia Hospital, Affiliated Healthcare Systems, The Aroostook Medical Center, Blue Hill Memorial Hospital, Charles A Dean Memorial Hospital, Eastern Maine HomeCare, Eastern Maine Medical Center, Healthcare Charities, Inland Hospital, Rosscare, and Sebasticook Valley Health.