Potato in School Lunches and WIC Packages

When you realize that just a few years ago Congress proclaimed that pizza is a vegetable, some of us remember once again that Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson was spot on when he said, "When you are scientifically literate, the world looks different to you." Congress's recent attempt to intervene in the health standards in the WIC package reveals how different the world looks to it from the world that the scientist is seeing, particularly a nutritionist or physician. Recently, Congress's attempt to put the potato back into the WIC packages for women and children shows how scientifically illiterate a group of 20 senators really is. This scientifically illiterate group of senators has caused nearly 100 nonprofit health and science organizations — including the American Pediatric Association, the American Medical Association, the National PTA and the March of Dimes — to join one another and ask Congress to stay out of nutrition scientific matters. These health and science organizations are motivated to join one another because they know that WIC packages are packages of food that are going to be used frequently by families. And the frequent use of such packages must provide two things: they must contain foods that are safe and do not cause disease and they must be inexpensive. Congress is sure of one thing: the potato fits the bill primarily because it is a cheap and afforable food. In fact, it is one of the cheapest foods to grow. But, the fact that is does cause disease is a whole other point that the twenty senators didn't bother to consider.

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Changing times for museums? Is there any chance of increasing the public's interaction with art? Can that abe a good thing? Read more

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Overweight, obese preschoolers lose more weight when parent is also treated

Three out of every 10 people hospitalized in Monterey County have diabetes, a little more than the one in four people in neighboring Santa Cruz County's hospitals, driving up health care costs according to a study released May 15th by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research recommending prevention efforts. Just three years ago Monterey county taxpayers paid out $14.7 million for the medical care of diabetic patients at local hospitals. Looking more deeply into this issue we find some clear reasons why this happened. The reason our county had a $14/ million medical bill for diabetic patients in 2011 is because of a lack of awareness about the role of the parent in making healthy choices. The childhood diabetes epidemic is all over the place. Farmers markets, pediatric clinic managers, and restaurant owners, while all thriving in this culinary savvy county, offer what they can to families. They not only offer healthy veggies and fruit but they also come up with healthier dishes on their menus. But, this is not the avenue that has brought much success. Dr. Teresa Quattrin in Buffalo, New York has shown there is another pathway to a pre-schooler's success with staying healthy. Learning how to make healthy choices is a family event.

Dr. Teresa Quattrin of University of Buffalo recently published her results on the inclusion of a parent when an obese child is being treated for obesity. "Our results show that the traditional approach to overweight prevention and treatment focusing only on the child is obsolete," says Teresa A. Quattrin, MD, senior author and UB Distinguished Professor, chair of the Department of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and pediatrician-in-chief at Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo. When a parent was included in her Buffalo Healthy Tots program, the obese pre-schoolers did better; they lost more weight, stayed healthier. Her study of 96 children ages 2-5 found that when overweight and obese youth and their parents were treated in a primary care setting with behavioral intervention, parents and children experienced greater decreases in body mass index (BMI) than did the children who received the traditional treatment, focusing only on the child. Weight loss for both parent and child was sustained after a 12-month followup. Dr. Quattrin's results are stunning. She used one important feature in her study: She included practice enhancement assistants, trained in psychology, nutrition or exercise science that assisted the parents. These assistants worked with the families both during treatment and education sessions and afterward by phone.

If we are to make any significant progress in the childhood obesity epidemic in this country we must think about how to get the parent and the child acting together as one.  One way to do this is to use appropriate educational materials that are designed to do just that: create a bond between the parent and the child. When the parent hangs our Healthy Choices flyer up in the family kitchen, for example, the child is better able to process the parent's interest in making healthy choices. When a parent and child get involved with planning a meal together, that's when you see amazing results. more

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Caramel, Caramel and More Caramel!
Just in time for Halloween! This session is not just eating sweet candies and such, but also enjoying vegetables, appetizers, (my famous Chocolate Covered Cheese with Black Sea Salt), stuffed apple onion pork chops, salad, and homemade Caramels, best ever Caramel Corn and more sweets for dessert. Three wine pairings included. Happy Halloween!

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The Gifting Earth is a free online system that enables its members to help each other through gifting and sharing. An Australian digital marketing consultant and technologist named Mirror has just begun an experiment in The Gift Economy and she's chronicling her adventures on her blog. Mirror's business consists in helping yoga teachers and studios to build up their businesses and create abundance doing what they love. But with The Gifting Earth there's more to gifting than that! You can now sign up for TGE and begin your experience here by asking for something if you wish.

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For an excellent paper on community see Dee Hock's paper on community. Dr. Wilken has presented Hock's thoughts in his Community of Minds web site.

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