ST. LOUIS - Grow an Extra Row is tied to Community Health Needs Assessment in St. Charles County to reduce the percentage of obese citizens in the next 3 years. That community assessment, which is part of the Affordable Care Act, determined more than 36 percent of adults in St. Charles County are considered obese.
Obesity is linked to major chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and stroke. SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital in Lake St. Louis got directly involved. Last year, the “Grow An Extra Row” community effort was launched to ask residents, groups, and neighborhoods to consider planting their own vegetables and fruits for themselves and then add an extra row to donate back to local food pantries. The effort was so successful, multiple food pantries were able to benefit.
Clinical dietitian Jessica Safford with SSM Health Medical Group says she's excited to see this program expand this year. She is encouraging families to work together to grow some food items they can enjoy all summer long during their own meal times.
“The hospital decided this was a program worth participating in because it helps the health of everyone in St. Charles County,” she said.
Safford encourages families to plant a garden including a wide variety of fruits and vegetables that you enjoy. Try and plant something new that your family hasn’t tried before, like zucchini or eggplant. And then at the end of summer, donate the extra to your local YMCA and it will be distributed to low-income families in St. Charles County to encourage healthy eating across the county.
To learn more about the nutrition services provided by SSM Health, click here.
The SSM Health Medical Minute airs every Wednesday at 7 PM on KPLR News 11 and at 9 PM on KTVI Fox 2 News.