The DHP works to improve knowledge of and access to good nutrition. In 2018, we partnered with SLI in Topeka to deliver the Stoplight Healthy Living Program to consumers with IDD.

  • The first session, in the spring of 2018, involved consumers who live in group homes.
  • The second session, delivered in the fall of 2018, presented the program to people who live in their own homes.

In 2019, the DHP will host a training of trainers so that other agencies can deliver the Stoplight Healthy Living program to Kansans with IDD around the state. If you are interested in learning more, contact Kim Bruns at

Stoplight Healthy Living Program a “Go” for Consumers

A smiling woman holds a parfait glass filled with a healthy dessert.Seven individuals at SLI in Topeka completed the Stoplight Healthy Living Program in the spring of 2018. This program teaches people with intellectual and developmental disabilities ways to improve their nutrition and increase their physical activity.

DHP staff Dot Nary and Kim Bruns delivered the pilot program, which met once a week for six weeks at the group home site.

The five men and two women participants learned how to use a Stoplight method for choosing the foods they eat. In this approach, foods are assigned to color groups that remind the user how often to eat them: Green means “go” (eat often), yellow means “slow” (eat sometimes) and red means “whoa” (eat rarely).

The participants learned about the role of portion sizes and eliminating sugary drinks to eat healthier, how to choose healthy foods when eating out, and ways to increase their physical activity.

They also discussed how other people can help them stick with their new, healthier habits.The participants worked with the group home staff to make changes, such as buying whole wheat bread instead of white bread, offering sugar-free snacks, and serving water or milk with meals instead of soda.

The DHP plans to conduct the program at one more group home, then develop a training so others can deliver the Stoplight Healthy Living Program to Kansans with IDD around the state.

Pictured above right: A participant in the SLI program shows off the healthy dessert she made of yogurt, fruit and granola.

SLI Consumers Practice Healthy Eating and Moving

A man gathers food from bowls to prepare a roll-up tortilla.A group of people are shown raising their arms in the air.

Seventeen people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) from SLI-Topeka took part in the six-session Stoplight Healthy Living Program in the fall of 2018. These individuals live in their own homes and attend activities at SLI, so this program is a great fit for their regular gatherings on how to stay healthy. Three staff members also attended to assist and learn how to deliver the program.

The overall goal of the program is to help participants understand the impact of nutrition and exercise on their lives. Even small changes to a person's daily routine and diet helps improve their health.

In addition to setting increased physical activity goals, participants learn how to eat the "Stoplight Way," which assigns stoplight colors to groups of foods. Green foods are GO. These include most fruits and vegetables. Yellow foods, like rice and pasta, are SLOW foods. They can be part of a healthy plate, but not too much or too many. Red foods are WHOA-STOP. These include cake, cookies, chips, ice cream, etc.- foods high in fat, sugar, and calories.

The Stoplight Healthy Living Program includes a variety of activities to engage participants:

  • Putting green, yellow and red stickers on foods in participants' pantries to reinforce the food groups
  • Demonstrating healthy portion sizes using one's hand (e.g., a healthy serving of protein is the size of one's palm)
  • Tracking steps with a pedometer and water consumption with a log
  • Understanding how many drinks contain sugar through a Sugary Drinks display
  • Role-playing how to order a healthier meal at a fast-food restaurant

In the photos above, participants prepare a healthy snack, then exercise by playing a game called "Bean, Bean."




The DHP staff is happy to help you find answers!


Participants in the Stoplight Healthy Living Program learn about portion sizes and food groups with the help of a model plate.
Two women look at the camera. On the table before them is a laminated place mat that shows a plate with recommended portion sizes and food eat.


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