Hillside Middle School Leads Initiative to Improve School Nutrition with Innovative Food Rating System
Guiding Stars®, the world’s first storewide nutrition guidance program is teaming up with Hillside Middle School in Manchester, NH for the debut of its good, better, best food rating system. Thanks to a grant from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, Hillside Middle School will be the first public school in New Hampshire to use Guiding Stars to help students and staff to easily identify nutritious food on the menu.
Guiding Stars will rate prepared meals, snacks, salad bar and grab-and-go items. This program provides a simple, at-a-glance tool to allow students to quickly identify and choose foods that offer the most nutrition for the calories. With Guiding Stars, each food item is awarded zero to three stars based on its nutritional value. One star means good nutritional value; two stars, better nutritional value; and three stars, the best nutritional value.
“Hillside should be recognized as a leader in health and wellness,” said Jim McBride, Director of Operations at Guiding Stars. “Making nutrition an important part of the school experience is critical to the future health of our children. We’re excited to bring Guiding Stars to Hillside and help them accomplish their goals of making nutrition a top priority.”
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 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. The more nutritional value a food has, the more Guiding Stars it receives on a scale of zero-to-three.
The Hillside Middle School program joins other school partnerships including the first nutrition rating system in a public school, MSAD 75 in Topsham, Maine; the Windham Raymond School District in Windham, Maine; Bates College in Lewiston, Maine; the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota; and the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire.
“Schools play a critical role in helping children and young adults learn about healthy eating and being mindful of the impact of their food choices on overall health and wellness,” said Brendan McCafferty, Principal of Hillside Middle School. “Guiding Stars is a great tool to help educate students about making smart, informed food choices. We hope they follow the stars to better nutrition and have some fun along the way.”
Sue Sheehy, Dietitian Consultant for the Manchester School District and Manchester Health Department comments that, “students spend so much of their day with us. We want to make sure they have nutritious choices that give them energy and nourishment for a successful day. Guiding Stars is going to be a great addition to our nutrition program.”
“At the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation, we believe that the most effective tools in the fight against childhood obesity are those that change the environment where children learn and play such as school” said Karen Voci, Executive Director of the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation. “The important partnership between Guiding Stars and the Hillside Middle School is leading the way in making nutritious food choices the fun and easy choice for school aged kids.”
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 Hillside Middle School
Hillside Middle School is located in Manchester, New Hampshire and has a population of approximately 870 students in grades 6 through 8. Hillside serves a range of students. Thirty-one native languages are represented in the school.
About The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation
Created in 1980, The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation supports Harvard Pilgrim’s mission to improve the health of the people it serves and the health of society. The Harvard Pilgrim Foundation provides the tools, training and leadership to help build healthy communities throughout New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine. In 2010, the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation awarded more than $1.2 million in grants to almost 1,000 nonprofit organizations within the three states. For more information, please visit www.harvardpilgrim.org/foundation.