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High score a 'winner' at Coborn's

Coborn's shoppers can now make nutrition decisions based on a numeric system, the higher the score, the better the choice.1 / 2
Kids are about to learn their favorite cereal does not come with a good grade, but salmon and strawberries are high scoring foods.2 / 2

A nutrition scoring system that applies a number from 1 to 100 - the higher the score, the higher the nutrition - to thousands of food items throughout Coborn's grocery stores, is helping shoppers make healthier and more nutritious food purchases.

The NuVal Nutritional Scoring System was developed by David Katz, M.D., director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center and a dozen of the world's leading minds in health and nutrition as a direct response to America's troubling heath trends: rapidly rising rates of obesity and diabetes in both the adult and child populations.

The NuVal Nutrition Scoring System takes more than 30 nutrients into account in developing a score. Scored categories include meat, seafood, poultry, salty snacks, milk, yogurt, vegetables (fresh, frozen and canned), cereal, bread, cookies, soft drinks, and crackers, among others.

Ultimately, NuVal will guide grocery customers in all food categories.

The system has proven to be a useful tool for families with children, Park Rapids store manager Bob Seifert said, particularly in the cereal aisle where scores range from 50 to 100.

And school classes are expected to gain an understanding of the system via tours, he said.

According to a 2010 study from the Harvard School of Public Health, men and women who consume a diet with foods that score high on the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System live longer and lower their risk for chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Results from a recent nine-month pilot project by CentraCare Health Foundation's BLEND Initiative, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) prompted Coborn's Inc. to implement the NuVal® Nutritional Scoring System at its stores.

"What we eat plays a major role in our overall health," said Marc Manley, M.D., Chief Prevention Officer for Blue Cross.

Preventing the most prevalent and costly diseases is essential to improving health and holding down health care costs.

Obesity, or excess body fat, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer and joint problems.

Treating these conditions and diseases caused by obesity takes a tremendous toll on quality of life and pocketbooks.

For example, in 2009, total Minnesota obesity-related medical spending reached $2.8 billion. A 2008 Blue Cross study found that obesity-related medical spending could add $3.7 billion annually by 2020 if left unchecked.

NuVal scores are located on the product tag on the supermarket shelf. They are marked by a double hexagon, allowing customers to easily compare the overall nutrition of foods. NuVal scores are also now prominently featured in the Coborn's weekly newspaper ad.