NEW YORK, NY (March 18, 2013) – Healthfirst and Veggiecation announce their partnership to provide nutrition education resources to local public school classrooms and community events in the New York and New Jersey metro area. Focusing on elementary school students and after school programs, Veggiecation founder and CEO, Lisa Suriano, brings her uniquely developed program to the classroom that explores the delicious world of vegetables. The partnership is part of the Healthfirst Healthy Living program, a health-education resource program developed by Healthfirst to give local residents access to valuable information and services to improve their health and well-being.
The Veggiecation nutrition education program introduces participants to vegetables, beans and other whole foods, offering unique, simple and affordable ways to enjoy them. Incorporating kid-friendly cooking demonstrations and interactive nutrition lesson plans at Healthfirst community outreach events, the program reaches children in underserved communities that have limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
“This partnership with Veggiecation reinforces our mission to ensure access to important health education resources to the communities most in need,” said Susan Beane, MD, Healthfirst VP and Medical Director. “Healthy eating habits that children develop at an early age help steer the course for future generations of healthier adults.”
Veggiecation has participated in past events with Healthfirst including the PS 55 American Heart Association Teaching Garden Harvest Day in the Bronx and the Go Red for Women health event at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn.
In addition, Healthfirst is also working with Veggiecation to develop co-branded Healthfirst Healthy Living materials including meal planners, recipe cards, activity books and educational posters to promote healthy eating messages. Lisa Suriano, who is also a certified nutritionist and personal trainer, will serve as a writer for the Healthfirst Healthy Living newsletters and blogs.
“We are so pleased to be partnering with Healthfirst on our mission to ‘veggiecate the nation!’ I truly believe providing people with the knowledge of why and, most importantly, how to eat healthy is the most powerful tool in maintaining wellness and preventing disease,” says Suriano.
Established in 1993, Healthfirst is a not-for-profit managed care organization that offers low or no-cost health insurance to eligible individuals and families living in the New York metropolitan area and New Jersey. It provides a variety of government-sponsored health insurance programs, including New York State's Child Health Plus, Family Health Plus, and Medicaid, as well as Medicare Advantage. The Healthfirst family of companies includes Healthfirst in New York, Healthfirst NJ in New Jersey, and Senior Health Partners (SHP), a managed long term care plan serving Medicaid-eligible clients in New York City. For more information, visit the company's websites at www.healthfirstny.org and www.healthfirstnj.org.
The Veggiecation Program is an evidence-based nutrition education concept that introduces young students to the delicious and nutritious world of vegetables. Utilizing existing school resources to minimize costs and seamlessly integrate Veggiecation into the classroom and school lunch programs, Veggiecation incorporates kid-friendly vegetable preparations into each lesson. Veggiecation can be adapted into lesson plans for science, literacy, art, social sciences, math and physical education as well as school wide assemblies, and family workshops. Veggiecation has been successfully test piloted in schools, such as The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine (New York, NY) and The Riverdale Country School (Bronx, NY) and the Greenwich Country Day School (Greenwich, CT). Veggiecation is available in over 100 public schools in Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. Veggiecation materials are utilized in over 300 public and private schools in Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island, as well as 30 states across the nation and in Canada.