S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

An epidemic?

Foundations have often led the way with activism. (see Title Link above for articles and feeds from a Bloglines "childhood obesity" search)
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, for example, has just pledged to spend $500,000 over the next five years to fight childhood obesity. The foundation, according to the New York Times, has worked on health issues since it first came into being in 1968:

Robert Wood Johnson, who built Johnson & Johnson into one of the world’s largest health and medical care products companies, established his foundation at his death in 1968 with 10,204,377 shares of the company’s stock. He committed it to improving the health of Americans.
The Saucony Run for the Good Foundation "Fights Childhood Obesity," according to
At a time when childhood obesity is rising at an alarming rate, children are now facing one of the most important challenges of their lives: embracing a fit lifestyle that will provide the foundation for a healthy future.
The Saucony Run For Good Foundation joined Governor Deval Patrick in tackling this issue as "Run For Good Day" in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Federal action proposed - Unhealthy school lunches have long been suspected as part of the problem. The Ag Observatory has a recent article on the fact that, "USDA Seeks More Healthful School Meals." (It was originally in the WaPo). To quote,
As part of a sweeping effort to help improve nutrition for schoolchildren and fight childhood obesity, the Agriculture Department is proposing for the first time to require schools to bring their cafeteria menus into compliance with the latest U.S. dietary guidelines.
While the USDA has limited the sale of soda and some junk foods in school cafeterias, it has not required schools to implement the 2005 Dietary Guidelines, which call for increased consumption of whole grains, fruit and vegetables. Nor does it regulate vending machines, a la carte menus, or other food and beverages sold in schools outside the cafeteria, although a bill introduced by Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) seeks to have it do that.

States also take a lead - The state of Florida is also trying to do something through the schools. Tampa Bay's 10 News reports on "Battling childhood obesity"
According to the American Heart Association, Florida is one of only 15 states that do not mandate physical education for elementary students. That’s why legislators want to require that elementary students get at least 2 ½ hours a week of physical education and junior high students get a minimum of 3 hours and 45 minutes a week.
The state of California is promoting leafy green vegetables. The Californian has the story, "Greens agreement details developing," from which I quote:

Getting the message out that fresh produce is safe and healthy is paramount to fighting childhood obesity and other health problems, California's secretary of food and agriculture said Tuesday in Salinas.
Hundreds of local growers and state and local agriculture industry leaders had gathered with him at the Salinas Community Center to talk publicly about new food safety rules under the Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement and how it will affect their industry.
Those of us with grown children do not envy parents trying to raise healthy children these days. The good news is that the "epidemic," as some experts call it, is being seen as a big problem. That fact now becomes a part of the eventual solution.
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My "creative post" today at Southwest Blogger is about the promise of Spring.

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