Health Quest Announces Launch of Guiding Stars Nutrition Guidance Program

LaGrangeville, N.Y. – Health Quest has announced its new partnership with Guiding Stars, the nation’s leading independent nutrition guidance program, which is now in place at Vassar Brothers Medical Center and Northern Dutchess Hospital, who join Putnam Hospital Center in this effort. Putnam Hospital Center announced its launch of this same program in April, 2013. The project has been in development since licensing for it began in 2008.

The goal of the Guiding Stars program, a subsidiary of Hannaford, is to aid hospital staff and guests in making more nutritious choices when dining in the cafeteria and quick service food stations at each of the three Health Quest hospitals.

Intended to take the guesswork out of choosing healthier options, the Guiding Stars system rates the nutritional value of every food item, including hot and cold prepared foods, salad bar, grab-and-go items, and beverages. Each item is then labeled according to its nutritional value to help guests quickly and easily identify and choose menu items. All items are evaluated using a patented algorithm based on the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans and other national evidence-based nutrition policies.

“The Guiding Stars program has proven to effectively influence the choices people make and encourage them to choose healthier options by making it easy to identify products that are better for you,” said Health Quest Director of Food Services Gretchen Hilbrandt, RD, CDN, referring to a recent USDA, FDA and University of Florida study published in the journal Food Policy. The research confirmed that the Guiding Stars Program effectively influences food selection, significantly increasing demand for more nutritious products, at the expense of those that are not.

“We believe that offering this innovative and effective program at all three of our facilities is just one more way Health Quest can positively contribute to the overall health and well-being of the 1.5 million area residents we serve,” she said.

“Health Quest is clearly devoted to improving the health of everyone in the communities they serve in the Hudson Valley—not just patients, but also staff, visitors and guests,” said Sue Till, Client Services Manager with Guiding Stars. “We’re very pleased to partner with an organization that’s so well-recognized, highly rated and nationally renowned for its quality care.”

For more information about the Guiding Stars program, visit www.guidingstars.com.

About Health Quest

Health Quest is the Hudson Valley’s largest integrated family of hospitals and health care providers, delivering the highest quality care across a variety of service lines, including Cancer Care, Cardiac Care, Orthopedics, Neurosciences, Women’s and Children’s Services and Surgical Services.

Our family includes three awarding-winning hospitals—Northern Dutchess Hospital in Rhinebeck, Putnam Hospital Center in Carmel and Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie—plus 10 primary care Health Quest Medical Practice (HQMP) locations, several HQMP specialty locations and two Health Quest Urgent Care locations for walk-in urgent care.

Altogether, Health Quest delivers immediate, compassionate care, using the latest medical technology, to more than one million people in Columbia, Dutchess, Ulster, Orange, Putnam and northern Westchester counties. Health Quest was also recently named the “most recognized Hospital System in the Mid-Hudson River Valley Region (Dutchess, Orange, Putnam and Ulster counties)” by Healthgrades, a leading hospital ratings organization.

About Guiding Stars Licensing Co.

Since 2006, Guiding Stars has been leading the way in helping consumers make nutritious food choices and has received patents in both the U.S. and Canada for its 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 found in more than 1,800 supermarkets in North America, including Hannaford, Food Lion, Sweetbay, Homeland, Marsh Supermarkets, B&R and Mar-Val in the U.S., as well as more than 350 Loblaw, Provigo and Provigo Le Marche stores in Quebec and Ontario. Guiding Stars has also expanded into public schools, colleges and hospitals and appears on the Shopper mobile iPhone application. Additional information can be found at www.guidingstars.com.