'Guiding Stars' Launched at Maine Medical Center

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'Guiding Stars' Launched at Maine Medical Center


Pioneering storewide nutrition navigation program “Guiding Stars” has formed a partnership with MaineGeneral Health to assist patients, visitors and staff in the identification of more nutritious foods at the hospital. The program debuted at Scarborough, Maine-based Hannaford Supermarkets in 2006, as has since expanded to the Delhaize Group division’s sister banners, Food Lion, Bloom and Sweetbay Supermarkets, and other grocers, as well as public schools, colleges, hospitals and even an iPhone application.

Guiding Stars will evaluate prepared meals, snacks and grab-and-go items according to their nutritional value in the medical center’s cafeterias, as well as being applied to the meals served to patients. Each food will get zero to three stars for a snapshot of its nutritional content.

Describing the program as “a consumer friendly tool that is already familiar to many local residents and makes it easy to choose healthier foods,” Paul Stein, administrative director of support services at Augusta-based MaineGeneral, noted: “As a health care organization, we’re committed to improving the health of our patients, visitors and staff, and this is one more way to strengthen that commitment in our region.”

“This partnership with MaineGeneral … is another way to impact not only the health of individuals, but public health as well,” added John Eldredge, director of brand and business development at Scarborough-based Guiding Stars Licensing Co. “In a setting where wellness is a priority, Guiding Stars will be another tool to help patients, visitors and staff achieve a healthy lifestyle.”

In addition to implementing Guiding Stars, MaineGeneral, the state’s third-largest health care system, has rolled out such initiatives as “Lighter Fare,” which offers balanced meals that are low in calories and fat, flagged better-for-you foods on patient menus, and provided nutritional information for prepared menu items, among other actions to encourage more nutritious food choices.