Oklahoma State University Dining Services showed up at the state capitol in Oklahoma City on March 27th as part of an initiative to demonstrate how grantees of the Oklahoma Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust are using the money to improve the health of Oklahoma residents. OSU Dining was awarded TSET funds in the fall of 2011 that helped launch an innovative nutrition program.
“The funding from this grant has allowed University Dining Services to focus on nutritional awareness programming for the students, faculty and staff,” said Terry Baker, Director of University Dining Services. “We want to actively engage everyone in a healthy eating lifestyle and encourage good eating choices.”
Nutrition education programs on campus seek to teach the OSU community important healthy dining skills. A key point of the program includes nutrition labeling on all food choices on campus. In the near future, UDS will make the information available online, as well as through a smartphone application. Cooking demonstrations, a “Choose This, Not That” campaign, and a signature “Choose Orange” product line all bring awareness to the issue of healthy dining.
The Choose Orange program designates products that are healthy choices that meet the U.S. Dietary Guidelines. Items that qualify for the Choose Orange seal include fruits, vegetables, calcium-rich foods, whole grains, and lean proteins.
TSET funds were received as part of a multi-state lawsuit against the tobacco industry. The funds were placed in an endowment to ensure a growing funding source dedicated to improving the health of all Oklahomans for generations to come.
According to United Health Foundation’s “America’s Health Rankings” 2012 report, Oklahoma is among the worst states in the nation in health rankings based on tobacco consumption, lack of exercise and obesity. Poor nutrition plays a key role in the obesity crisis.