[Guest Post] Working Together for Good Health
Hi everyone! It’s Kelly – BLEND Program Specialist and NuVal Educator. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a BLEND “guest” blog called: “NuVal Spokemom – Kelly Radi”. I explained my day-to-day frustration with reading food labels and selecting the healthiest food for my family. I’ve been reminded I forgot to share something in that first post! ”How did I get this gig?”
It’s a one-of-a-kind tale – you’re sure to enjoy.
So, what happens when a grocer, a doctor and an insurance provider sit down at the same table?
Sound like the beginning of a funny joke? Well, it’s actually a true story and the beginning of a very positive and unique partnership. Please, allow me to explain.
The grocer is Coborn’s, Inc. The doctor is CentraCare Health Foundation’s BLEND initiative. And, the insurance provider is Blue Cross-Blue Shield of MN. You might be asking yourself what these three entities could possibly have in common and why would they sit down at a table together. These three have one BIG common denominator…Y-O-U. Specifically, your health.
All three have joined forces in a commitment to positively impact the health of those folks living in Central Minnesota. Those folks (yes, you and I) are their customers, patients and clients. They want us to be healthy! Not only do they say they want us to be healthy, they are putting their resources toward exactly that.
An Ounce of Prevention
According to the CDC, more than sixty percent of adults in Minnesota are overweight or obese. Treating obesity-related conditions takes a tremendous toll on our pocketbooks. In 2008, U.S. medical costs associated with obesity and obesity-related conditions were estimated at $147 billion. Recognizing the burden placed on Minnesotans and caring enough about the health of their customers, Coborn’s, Inc., BCBS of MN, and CentraCare Health Foundation have committed to putting their dollars toward disease prevention and overall community health.
NuVal Makes it Simple
Our grocer, insurance provider and healthcare system chose to bring the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System to the area to give people a tool to simplify healthy grocery shopping. How? The NuVal System scores food on a scale of 1-100. The higher the NuVal Score, the better the nutrition. NuVal scores summarize comprehensive nutritional information in one simple number between 1 and 100. Each NuVal score takes into account more than just the nutrition fact panel. It considers 30-plus nutrients and nutrition factors – the good (protein, calcium, vitamins) and the not-so-good (sugar, sodium, cholesterol). And then it boils it down into a simple, easy-to-use number to help you choose the grocery items you want for better overall nutrition.
A Unique and Positive Partnership
While NuVal is available coast to coast, it’s no joke Central MN is the only place in the nation where a grocer, health system and insurance provider joined forces to create a community-based model using NuVal as a tool for better health. This unique collaboration is a win-win for area residents who want easy access to healthy grocery options.
“As a health company committed to making a healthy difference in people’s lives, Blue Cross works to find innovative ways to reduce obesity in Minnesota and the toll it takes on our health. We believe this collaboration with CentraCare’s BLEND organization, and Coborn’s stores, is an important step in removing barriers and improving access to healthy eating. Now families will have the information they need to make the healthy choice the easy choice.” ~ Marc Manley, M.D., Chief Prevention Officer for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.
From Mom to “Spokesmom”
I’ve been very thankful to ride along in this journey with the CentraCare Health Foundation’s BLEND initiative, BCBS of MN, and Coborn’s, Inc. since the launch of NuVal in eight Coborn’s grocery stores back in 2010. It has helped me make wiser, and healthier, food decisions. I’ve become an expert of sorts over the last year-and-a-half and have often found myself teaching others the benefits of using NuVal.
Just recently, I accepted a position to work for the CentraCare Health Foundation’s BLEND initiative as their NuVal Spokesmom and Program Specialist. My job is to help Coborn’s launch NuVal in the remaining stores throughout the CentraCare Health System’s 12-county service area. Through a grant provided by BCBS of MN, I have my dream job — to meet new people and talk about food and nutrition. Yes, I get paid to talk about food! I told you it was my dream job. I make trips to Coborn’s grocery stores to educate store employees and shoppers, present to civic groups, schools, and organizations, and write bi-weekly blogs for BLEND and the Coborn’s Blog site.
This partnership has given me the opportunity to make healthier food choices. And now, it can help YOU and the people in Central Minnesota strive for better health.
Please join me as I write about my real-life experiences with NuVal. I’m calling my new blog: “Peek into Kelly’s…”. I’ll give you the chance to “peek into” my pantry…or kitchen…maybe even my lunch bag. I’ll keep it simple, informative and real. Thank you for joining me on this journey.