An innovative program aimed at reducing childhood obesity and improving access to healthy foods for patients and the community at large is being launched in San Antonio by Baylor’s newest affiliate, the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio.
The culinary health and education program will provide a comprehensive approach to childhood health and nutrition and will incorporate many elements in the community, including:
- Hospital teaching kitchen – Designed by The Culinary Institute of America, it will offer nutrition and hands-on cooking courses created by the institute in conjunction with clinical experts at the hospital, with the support of Aramark, the hospital’s food services provider. Courses will be offered to patients and open to the general public.
- Teaching and healing gardens – 2.4 acres for patients and families to play, pray and learn through interactive experiences as well as about the foundations of a healthy diet.
- “Prescriptions for Produce,” a program in partnership with H-E-B in which physicians at the hospital can write prescriptions for produce to be redeemed at local H-E-B stores.
“With the creation of this revolutionary new program, the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio will be able to provide important nutritional information, engaging food preparation classes and intensive clinical interventions that, when combined, offer an innovative and uniquely comprehensive approach to preventing and treating childhood obesity,” said Dr. Mark Gilger, pediatrician-in-chief of the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio and professor of pediatrics at Baylor.
The teaching kitchen and garden currently are under construction with an anticipated completion date of fall 2015. While in the teaching kitchen or dining area, hospital staff and visitors will see the organic vegetable and herb garden beyond, reinforcing the connection between fresh ingredients and fresh food. The garden environments will be an extension of the kitchen and will feature shaded outdoor seating surrounded by raised garden terraces.
The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio announced a $20 million grant from the Goldsbury Foundation in April 2013, and $5 million of this gift has been allocated for the development and implementation of innovative, community-focused, collaborative health and wellness initiatives. That money will be used to create the culinary health and education program.