By Hollen Dodds
MUSC Children's Hospital is taking a stand against childhood obesity by incorporating various nutritional programs.
A children's taste panel was held March 21 in the university hospital cafeteria. The goal of the panel was to encourage kids to make healthier meal choices.
Will Smith gives approval of the healthy Action Meals served at the taste panel March 21.
The taste panel is one of the first patient-focused efforts of the Children's Hospital Wellness Initiative, sponsored by the Boeing Center for Children's Wellness. Boeing donated $1 million to the Children's Hospital last year to establish a center aimed at promoting better health among the state's young people.
According to the National Association of Children's Hospitals, 16.9 percent of children and adolescents, ages 2 to 19, are obese.
Twelve children were dubbed judges at the taste panel. Parents and siblings of patients also attended the tasting. MUSC dietetic interns collaborated with Sodexo to organize a variety of foods that were served to the children. By choosing their favorites, their selections will help to guide the planning of the hospital's future menu.
Clinical nutrition manager Mary Basel said the event was a huge success, and the children had fun participating.
"Establishing healthy eating habits is important in the prevention and treatment of medical issues. We decided to conduct the taste panel so we could educate children and their parents on the importance of nutrition, while allowing kids to have a say in making healthier choices."