We fully agree that the battle against obesity is won by changing habits ["Light up, eat up, pay up," Editorial, June 5]. We have developed a healthy food portions curriculum for local middle school students, based on the "plate method" -- half a meal plate should be fruits or vegetables, one-quarter should be grains, and one quarter protein. Children need consistent visual cues and messages to create the habit of choosing healthy portions.

This is a concept easily grasped by most middle school students, in the same manner that children create other healthy habits, such as brushing their teeth or washing their hands. The new Department of Agriculture plate icon has the potential to be very successful if it is appropriately incorporated into school health curriculums and reinforced at home.

Eileen Barreca

Sheila Spiezio

West Islip

Editor's note: The writers are trained, respectively, in physical therapy and nursing.