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Children's Hospital Announces Innovative Culinary Health & Education Program

Children's Hospital of San Antonio is developing unique friendships that leaders there hope will help lead the way in the reduction of obesity and get people on a healthy eating path.

On Wednesday, CHRISTUS Santa Rosa Health System President and CEO Pat Carrier announced the creation of the culinary health and education program that will do three things: 

  • offer a teaching kitchen, designed by the Culinary Institute of America, to offer hands-on nutrition and cooking courses that will be available for patients and the general public in the fall of 2015.
  • implement a healing garden; a 2.4 acre area for patients, families and staff members to pray, reflect and learn through interactive experiences, starting in the fall of 2015.
  • launch a "prescriptions for produce" program so that physicians can write prescriptions for fruits and vegetables to people that will help prevent illness. A launch date for this phase has not been set.

"Our team is committed to providing the children and families of this community with the resources, tools, and education they need to live healthier lives while tackling childhood obesity rates," said Carrier.
Dr. Mark Gilger, pediatrician in chief, said prevention is what pediatrics is all about. He said he believes the three-pronged program will make a difference in South Texas.

"In simple terms, you are what you eat," Gilger said. "I think there's a growing understanding of the impact of the foods we eat on our health and that is really, honestly what our Culinary Health Institute at Children's Hospital San Antonio is all about."

H-E-B's Kate Rogers said the prescriptions program is a way for the community to access good nutrition.

"Unfortunately, only about a quarter of adult Texans consume three or more servings of vegetables everyday," she said. "That's pretty low when we should be at five or more. So we've got a long way to go and one way to do that is to get those prescriptions or coupons into the hands of the folks who really, really need them."

The details have to be worked out, she said at a Wednesday press conference, including how much the redeemable coupons will be worth.

Last year the Goldsbury Foundation announced a $20 million overall grant for the development and implementation of innovation, community-focused and collaborative health programs. $5 million from that grant is being used for the new culinary health and education program at Children's Hospital of San Antonio.

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.