Tuesday, February 2, 2010

NEWSFLASH: One in Eight Americans Visited Food Banks in 2009

The Pinched News sidebar is full of some really thought-provoking stories right now.

In mid-January the Times ran a report on CDC data that suggest obesity rates in the US have plateaued. Rates are still high, of course, but didn't get higher. From that article:

Some experts, though, were not optimistic that the leveling off was a result of improved eating and exercise habits.

“Until we see rates improving, not just staying the same, we can’t have any confidence that our lifestyle has improved,” said Dr. David Ludwig, director of the Optimal Weight for Life Program at Children’s Hospital Boston.

Another compelling article was Snack Time Never Ends. If you have children, you can relate, I'm sure, to the lunacy of taking snack time to the end of every activity. When my children were very small this wasn't an issue for me - it' s only since they began playing team sports that I've taken umbrage with unnecessary post-game consumables. Nice hustle, kids! Do you want Pringles or Oreos with your Capri Sun?

And we wonder why we have an obesity epidemic on our hands.

A few articles concern school gardens, including Caitlin Flangan's recent missive in The Atlantic regarding the appropriateness of using time and money for school gardening programs in low-performing schools. While Flanagan misses an essential point of the innovative and practical teaching that is contained within the confines of even a waxed paper cup filled with potting soil and a few seeds (measurement! condensation! germination!) she does make a case for these lessons superceding lessons in higher math and reading. This is a good time to add that my children's urban public school is on the cusp of completing a roof garden with no public funding whatsoever, seeded financially via a Friends-of-the-School giving program, and seeded literally by a volunteer-led after school program called - perfectly - Super Seeders.

Finally, the news that startled me the most was this headline from today's Journal: One in Eight Americans Used Food Banks in 2009. Clearly, opening our wallets to local food banks remains necessary if we're serious about combating hunger in the US.

Don't see the articles in the sidebar? Find them under FOOD & CHILDREN here.

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