Pediatric obesity and the potential impending health crisis became a red hot national topic, thanks in a large part to First Lady, Michelle Obama. While nutrition programs are now being introduced into elementary school programs, the majority of secondary school curricula relegate only a minor segment of mandated health classes to nutrition education. It is not enough.
This fact was the primary moving force for the creation of the I.D.E.A. Program. In order to change an individual’s eating and health habits, it is essential to conduct a thorough assessment of eating habits, medical history, individualized nutrition education, demonstration, and incentives to progressively achieve personal goals.
The initial objective of I.D.E.A. was to present the program to a local high school and work with overweight teenage girls in a lower socio-economic community, as well as the individuals and services that could support them in their efforts. This was accomplished using a three “prong” approach
1) Working directly with the participants
2) Educating their families
3) Effecting positive change in the school cafeteria
The goal of the I.D.E.A. Program was for participants to achieve weight loss and improve eating and exercise habits while encouraging their family members and school cafeteria to support the participants’ efforts by making improvements in their food offerings.