Two stories in today's (5/7/09) Washington Post helped me greet the day positively and reinforce my sense that, step-by-step, we're making strides to improve the health of our children and the prevent childhood obesity.
The 2010 Dietary Guideline committee is continuing their work on revising the 2005 Dietary Guidelines. The full committee held their third meeting on April 29 – 30, 2009. I attended the meeting via webinar, as did all observers. The meeting began with a series of talks by invited experts, such as Brian Wansink, PhD, Frank Sacks, MD, and more. The remainder of the meeting revolved around presentations of the subcommittee reports. Attending meeting #3 again proved to be enlightening and educational.
The news last week that several airlines are considering
charging overweight people for two airline seats evokes thoughts from me from two
extremes. On one end I work as a concerned and empathetic health care provider
to be sensitive to the challenges and struggles that overweight people face.
From the opposite end of the spectrum, still wearing my health care provider
The longest (2 years) and largest (~800 people) randomized control trial (the gold standard of studies) reported in the New England Journal of Medicine (2/27/09) was designed to answer the seemingly age-old question What’s the Best Diet for Weight Loss? The study was funded by National Institutes of Health and conducted by leading obesity researchers from Harvard School of Public Health and Pennington Research Center in Louisiana.
Yes, the stats about the numbers of children and adolescents who are overweight (and obese) are glum. And these stats are often topped off with the dismal fact that today’s generation of children are on the road to a shorter life expectancy than recent generations due to obesity, poor eating habits and limited physical activity.
The 2010 Dietary Guideline committee is at work revising the 2005 Dietary Guidelines which is mandated by Federal law to be done every five years under the direction of either Health and Human Services (HHS) or U.S. Dept of Agriculture (USDA). HHS took the lead in 2005 and this time around the USDA is taking the lead. The work of the committee and staff will conclude with the publication of the revised guidelines in fall of 2010.
According to a heart warming article in the Washington Post (2/5/09) the new USDA Secretary - Tom Vilsack, is taking a broad view of his goals and roles at USDA. He is talking of his interest in more nutritious foods in schools, more fruits and vegetables for WIC recipients and the importance of educating school administrators, parents and children about the importance of healthy eating and nutritious foods.
There’s no shortage of nutrition advice—that’s for sure! The near daily headlines encouraging you to eat more of this and less of that, to advertisements that promote more dietary supplements to prevent or cure myriad medical conditions are enough to make your head spin and make it a challenge to separate fact from fiction when it comes to nutrition and healthy eating.
On 1/20/09 I had the opportunity to attend the inauguration of President Barack Obama. I am hopeful because I believe there are signs and symptoms that we are moving in positive directions in the areas of making healthier foods more readily available, making it easier to eat healthy and placing at least some focus and energy on preventing chronic diseases. Yes, recognizing once again that healthy eating and health are integrally interwoven!