By making portions visually understandable, the newer USDA Choose My Plate initiative has helped encourage healthy eating and nutrition education. But in a country as diverse as the United States, and in a city as diverse as New York City, diabetes educators at the Institute for Family Health recognized that many patients may not identify with the Choose My Plate options.
The Institute, a network of federally qualified community health centers, designed Healthy Plates Around the World to provide culturally appropriate diabetes and nutrition education to their diverse patient population. The plates depict ideal portion sizes for typical Mexican, Puerto Rican, Dominican, American, soul food or West African meals, and some are also available in Spanish.
Nationally, 8.5 percent of the population has diabetes, but prevalence is significantly higher among ethnic minorities. African Americans, for example, are twice as likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites. Since 2008, the Institute’s Healthy Plates have used the foods people know and love to teach about healthy eating and making the nutritious choices without sacrificing taste and culture.