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Ochsner and Rouses Markets Partner for Choose Healthy Initiative

NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Tomorrow, August 21, 2009, at 1:30pm at the Rouses Market, 4500 Tchoupitoulas Street, Ochsner Health System and Rouses Markets, the largest independent grocer in Louisiana, will announce the Louisiana community initiative partnership, "Choose Healthy," This program is designed to educate people about the benefits of smart food and lifestyle choices, disease prevention and regular medical checkups. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Louisiana is the 8th most obese state in the U.S., with nearly 30% of all residents considered medically obese.

"People traditionally only get wellness information at the doctor's office, clinic or hospital," said Dr. Patrick Quinlan, CEO of Ochsner Health System, "but a grocery store is a natural setting for people to talk about nutrition and meal planning. Rouses has given us a great opportunity to reach people before they make their food choices."

Rouses customers will find healthy, Ochsner-endorsed eating recommendations on every aisle of their market, and be able to take advantage of Ochsner education programs and materials and free health screenings, including blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and body fat. Rouses Chef Nino will be incorporating lighter and heart healthy recipes into his cooking demonstrations. Customers will also be able to access recipes and information on smart food choices, proper meal planning and disease-specific diet alternatives online at and through the Choose Healthy link.

"We have always considered Rouses as more than just a place to buy groceries," said Donald Rouse, President of Rouses Markets. "I think this will go far in educating and motivating our customers to lead healthier lifestyles. Having Ochsner-endorsed meal plans and recipes, and food recommendations clearly marked, makes it easier for people to make a healthier choice." The partnership will also benefit Rouses' 4,800 team members. "Ochsner will be providing free, in-store education and health screenings for our team members," said Rouse. "If we educate our employees, they, in turn, will educate our customers."

The way Rouse and Quinlan see it, "Choose Healthy" should also be a boost to the local economy. Rouses has long promoted buying local, and Quinlan thinks that's an important component of the obesity solution. "Part of Louisiana's answer to the obesity crisis is encouraging people to eat fresh, local vegetables and seafood. Educating residents on a healthy diet, and encouraging them to take advantage of our natural resources, can shrink our community's waistline and grow our local economy," said Dr. Quinlan.

Ochsner Health System ( is a non-profit, academic, multi-specialty, healthcare delivery system dedicated to patient care, research and education. The system includes seven hospitals and over 35 health centers located throughout Southeast Louisiana. Ochsner employs more than 750 physicians in 90 medical specialties and subspecialties and over 300 clinical research trials annually. Ochsner has been listed as one of the "Best Places to Work" by New Orleans CityBusiness. In 2009, Ochsner was ranked as "Best" Hospital by U.S. News and World Report in Heart care, Urology and ENT services. Ochsner has 11,000 employees system-wide.

Founded in 1960 by the late Anthony J. Rouse Sr. with a single store in Houma, Louisiana, and only four employees, today Rouses ( employs 4,800 people and has locations in two states. In 2007, Rouses Markets doubled in size by acquiring A&P's Southern Division. In addition to four Mississippi Gulf Coast stores, Rouses Markets has 31 locations in Louisiana, making it the largest independent grocer in the state. In 2008, only one year after opening its first store in New Orleans, Rouses was voted "Best Supermarket in New Orleans" by Gambit Weekly. It was also voted one of the "Best Places to Work" by Louisiana Life Magazine.

SOURCE Ochsner Health System
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