Archive for February, 2010
This week I celebrated ten years of motherhood, as my oldest turned ten. While juggling conference calls, meetings, and birthday parties complete with allergen-free treats, I was struck by a trending topic on Twitter: #thingswewantback.
Here’s what I came up with (and I’d love your additions below):
- Food ingredients that our grandmothers would recognize
- The time we’ve spent in doctors’ offices
- Grocery shopping without “Allergen-free” constraints
- The 1990s reassurance of the 1 in 10,000 rate of autism
- Fake Food to find its way out of grocery stores and back into the aisles of Toys R Us
- The health of our children
Ten years ago, 1 in 3 American children did not have autism, allergies, ADHD or autism; 20% of children were not obese; and 85% of cancers were not environmentally triggered. And while we can’t change the beginning of our stories, we can restore the health of our children and #ChangeTheEnd.
“Years may wrinkle the skin. But to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.” ~Samuel Ullman
To be sung to the tune of “Let It Be” by the Beatles….
When we find our food in times of trouble, common sense returns to me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in our health care crisis, fake food’s standing right in front of me,
speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let food be, let it be, let food be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.
And when the Big Food shareholder people living in the world agree,
there will be an answer, let it be.
For though they’re in denial there is still a chance that they will see,
there will be an answer. let it be.
Let food be, let it be, …..
And though the food is artificial, there’s a light, that shines on me,
shine until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of children, standing right in front of me,
speaking words of wisdom, let food be.
Let food be, let food be…..
More than a quarter of all U.S. children have a chronic health condition, new research suggests, a significant increase from the rate seen in earlier decades and a statistic that looms large for the nation’s efforts to subdue rising healthcare costs.
Since when did childhood become a pre-existing condition?
While fewer children today are affected by congenital defects, infectious diseases and accidents than they were 50 years ago, the study, released online today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “speaks to the fact that children need continuous access to healthcare.”
The rate of chronic conditions increased from 12.8% in 1994 to 26.6% in 2006. Latino and black youths and males were more likely to have health problems.
And while the study highlights the role that these health conditions are playing in driving profitability for health care providers and pharmaceutical makers, it also highlights our ability to affect remarkable change in the health of our children, stating :
Genetics haven’t changed. Our environment has, and so has our paradigm.
The unhealthy truth is that today, our children are valued as thru-puts in our for-profit medical system as users of ADHD medications, asthma inhalers, insulin pumps and epinephrine injectors as stated in Senate testimony by Distinguished Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine and Visiting Professor at Stanford University, Jerome Kassirer, M.D. Our children are marketed to with food product placements in movies.
But, as any parent knows, our children are worth more. They are our future innovators, entrepreneurs, teachers, doctors and leaders. And together, we can create change in the cultural, lifestyle and environmental conditions that the American Medical Association today acknowedges as “the root cause of many pediatric illnesses” and place the same value on the lives of the American children that has already been placed on the lives of children in other countries who are not exposed to these same environmental conditions.
As we work to restore the health of our children, one mom, one dad, one bite, one kid at a time, we can affect the remarkable change that our children deserve.
Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen. ~Michael Jordan
It is time to make it happen.
The best Valentine I received yesterday was when one of my kiddos asked for MORE roasted brocolli last night at dinner! I was so excited that I tweeted about it. That Tweet inspired some awesome feedback with lots of requests for the recipe, so here it is:
Ingredients: 2 heads of broccoli, olive oil, salt
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Remove broccoli stems and arrange broccoli in a single layer on a cooking tray
- Drizzle broccoli with olive oil and add a dash of salt
- Bake on 425 for about 10 minutes
For those looking for a little diversity, try cauliflower instead of broccoli or spice things up with 2 cloves of garlic, black pepper, bread crumbs, or some grated cheese or shrimp (depending, of course, on food allergies) as highlighted here by the Food Network . Yum!
“We want our youngsters at the top of their game,” said Secretary Vilsack of the USDA on a conference call in which I had the honor of participating earlier this week.
He was talking about the Children’s Nutrition Act, which is up for reauthorization this year. And he had a very large audience.
As any parent knows, the landscape of children’s health has changed, often making childhood feel like a pre-existing condition. Today, 32% of children are obese; 1 in 3 American children have allergies, asthma, ADHD or autism ; the sale of pediatric drug prescriptions like EpiPens are up 700% over the last decade; and we now spend 17 cents of every dollar on managing the chronic conditions that confront our families: diabetes, asthma, allergies, ADHD and cancer.
As a result, our children are no longer guaranteed a safe and healthy childhood. Not in the face of these surging epidemics, placing new demands on parents and caregivers around the country.
But fortunately, we are mobilizing and addressing the issue. From the Secretary of the USDA to the First Lady, from Faith Based Organizations to the Top Producing Farmers that I had the honor of meeting earlier this month, we are all doing our part to affect change. And everyone is invited to have a seat at the table as we work to restore the health of our families.
As the beverage industry lends its support to the First Lady’s obesity initiative, it demonstrates the importance of not making “the perfect” the enemy of “the good” and how we can all do our part so that vending machines for prescriptions drugs won’t eventually take up residence next to the vending machines for soda in the school hallways.
Our children need us. This call to action is something that we can’t ignore – its poignancy reinforced by Secretary Vilsack who so candidly shared that “as a youngster, I was obese…and a vicious cartoon hung on the refrigerator at home, as a reminder of what my parents thought I looked like.”
The suffering of children is intolerable . And in the words of Secretary Vilsack on our conference call this week, “We all ought to be engaged as a national community to do what we set out to do in 1946 (with the launch of our National School Lunch Program) and that is to make our kids healthy.”
The opportunity to be part of the solution is enormous, the invitation has been extended to all of us, and the time to restore the health of our children is now.
Join the Lunchbox Crusade. We Need All Hands On Deck!