Maine is home to a diverse range of edible flora and fauna. From fresh Maine lobster and fiddlehead ferns to blueberries and maple syrup, our state has one of the best local food availability in the country – in both taste and nutritional quality. That said, our state still has a high national ranking for obesity, diabetes, deaths from cancer, and premature death, according to the United Health Foundation. One of the problems? Most Mainers don’t know that some of the most nutritious and best-quality food in the country is growing right in their backyard.
The Maine Nutrition Network promotes healthy lifestyles in and around the state of Maine. Our goal is to bring awareness to Maine’s health challenges while using food and nutrition to provide reasonable, actionable strategies. More than a heathy eating network, we want to spotlight the foods that made Maine famous – and dig into how their nutritional information can improve our state’s overall health.
This initiative has a special emphasis on children’s nutrition. In Maine, about 30 percent of children and teens are overweight or obese, according to data from the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality. The State’s rank on insurance disparity, or the burden of illness experienced by one group relative to another, is 45 out of 50, with 50 being the worst. Simply put, Maine’s children are suffering from poor nutrition and lack access to the health resources they need to grow. We want to help change that.
In addition to posting nutritional information relevant to Maine’s endemic, edible species, we are going to share information about child wellness policies in the state, especially those that relate to nutrition. Hopefully, if parents read this information and find out that their schools, daycares, other institutions, or homes are not complying, we can all work harder to improve the state’s overall health rankings by ensuring these initiatives are actually in practice.