HCN News & Notes

Springfield College Partners with Canyon Ranch Institute on Program

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College has partnered with the Canyon Ranch Institute to implement and evaluate a public-health project on the Springfield College campus through June 28 titled Healthy Table. The goal of the program is to improve healthy eating, cooking, and shopping habits for individuals and families living in the vicinity of Springfield College.

“We are very excited about this partnership with the Canyon Ranch Institute because both Springfield College and Canyon Ranch Institute make healthy living and nutrition a top priority,” said Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper. “We are looking forward to utilizing our nutritional experts on campus to assist our neighboring community members with healthy-living opportunities.”

As part of the program, participants will be able to speak with experts regarding nutrition, learn how to cook nutritional meals, and shop for healthy meals on a budget.

“We’re really pleased to be partnering with Canyon Ranch Institute/Health Literacy Media to pilot this program with the Springfield community,” said Springfield College Assistant Professor of Nutritional Sciences Donna Chapman. “Everybody in the program has at least one risk factor for heart disease, and they are really eager to learn new approaches to healthy eating and cooking.”

In order to participate, individuals must be overweight, or at risk for or diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, or have high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Each class is co-taught by a chef and a registered dietitian, and there is no cost to participate in the program.

“The college received very positive feedback that participants enjoy this combination of hands-on cooking and nutrition classes,” added Chapman. “During our sessions, several participants commented that they started to make some healthy changes in their eating right away. They learned how easy it was to make homemade broths and soups that tasted great, and were far lower in sodium than the canned soups they would typically eat.”

As part of the program evaluation, the college is collecting data at the beginning and end of the course on the participants’ nutrition knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, as well as clinical outcomes such as weight, blood pressure, waist and hip circumferences, and percentage of body fat. Researchers from Springfield College and Canyon Ranch Institute will analyze how these measurements change over time.