Excerpts from: We Must Act Now, by Bill Clinton.
San Francisco Chronicle/Parade, Sept. 25th 2005. Page 5.
One of the most important issues facing Americans today is the epidemic of childhood obesity, which can lead to early heart disease, diabetes and other problems. More than 9 million children and adolescents in this country are over weight or obese. That is nearly 4 times the number 4 years ago. Carrying around excess weight for years can lead to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and premature death. For the first time, we are seeing substantial numbers of children with type 2 diabetes [also called “adult onset diabetes”]. Why is this happening? Because children are eating more unhealthy foods and exercising less. Who’s responsible? We all are. Too many parents don’t have enough time to prepare - or believe they can’t afford - healthier foods. Too many schools have stopped physical education programs, rely on vending machines with sugary treats to raise much-needed cash and don’t serve healthy meals in the cafeteria. And too few restaurants and fast-food outlets offer low-fat, low-salt and low-calorie meals. By offering more whole grains, fruits and vegetables, as well as healthier versions of popular foods, restaurants could be a powerful force in turning the dangerous tide of childhood obesity and unhealthy living. We’ve got to act now to turn the tide of childhood obesity in America.
Copyright © 2005 by William Jefferson Clinton
Excerpts from: Heart Health Should Start Early, by Dr. Isadore Rosenfeld.
San Francisco Chronicle/Parade, Sept. 25th, 2005. Pages 6-14.
Hardening of the arteries in the heart, brain, kidneys, eyes, legs -indeed, in any body organ- is a gradual process that begins in childhood, even though it’s symptoms usually don’t appear until adult life. The more saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol there is in the diet, and the higher the blood’s cholesterol level, the greater the chance of fatty deposits. These deposits are the forerunner of the fibrous cholesterol-filled plaques that appear later in life. As these plaques grow in size, they progressively narrow the artery, reducing the amount of blood flowing through it. However, symptoms of reduced blood flow may not appear until the obstruction is severe, usually in midlife or later. Also, whatever it’s size, the plaque can burst within the artery and form a clot that completely blocks it. Deprived of the oxygen-rich blood it needs, the heart muscle starts to die and loses its ability to pump blood throughout the body. Such plaque rupture is the most common cause of a heart attack or stroke.
Help Your kids To Eat Well--
- Stock up on fresh, frozen or canned vegetables and fruits (in their natural juices). Kids need five or more servings a day.
- Buy breads and cereals made from whole grains.
- Choose vegetable oils…for cooking and baking, such as canola, olive, soybean, corn, sesame, safflower and sunflower.
- Avoid foods high in salt, particularly processed or packaged foods, like deli meats. less than 2300mgs of sodium a day is best.
- Choose healthy snacks, such as fresh fruits, raw vegetables, unsalted popcorn, or a handful of unsalted or dry roasted nuts.
- Don’t ignore breakfast. Start each day with a healthy meal, such as oatmeal or whole wheat cereal.
- Hold off on seconds. Instead of another plateful of the main dish or dessert, encourage kids to fill up with more salad or vegetables.
These articles published recently due to Bill Clintons quadruple bypass surgery are encouraging. Although both articles are not hard nutrition literature, they do refer to an important subject- Most Americans eat too much. It is interesting that both authors emphasize eating more plant foods and less animal products. As nutrition “facts” change over the years with more discoveries and understanding of the body’s systems, one thing has not changed- the fact that eating a lot of plant foods is healthy. Each persons constitution determines which plants, how much and in what form, but everyone can agree through time tested experience that the human body needs plant food for optimal health. Unfortunately, When Mr. Bill Clinton was president of the United States, he was unaware that the very corporations he was supporting, such as the entire pharmaceutical industry and the meat and dairy industries, have the most marketing campaigns and influence on the American media and education. There is a lot of money being made in all of these businesses. The vegetable market is not quite as lucrative- yet.
It is hopeful to see that the Clinton Foundation Alliance is trying now in a small effort, to correct many of the mistakes they have made. I would like to see him take one bold step further and actually promote a purely plant based (vegan) diet to make real progress in preventing obesity and heart disease.
Dr. Rosenfeld has given generally good suggestions, but being an older doctor, his education was undoubtedly funded by the corporate powerhouses- the meat, dairy and pharmaceutical industries, meaning that he learned about the food guide pyramid (which has been changed due to “new” nutrition information) and that “everything in moderation” is okay.
Some important points that I can add to this news is that because cholesterol is made by animals (including human animals), we do not need to consume any. Any dietary cholesterol is excess because our bodies make sufficient amounts already. Plants do not make cholesterol, needless to say, all plant foods are naturally “cholesterol free”. In addition, saturated fat alone does not clog arteries. Saturated fat is not unhealthy or even entirely “sticky”. It is the combination of saturated fat and cholesterol in animal products that causes blockages in arteries by sticking to the arterial walls. The last point that I would like to make clear is that sodium itself does not cause hypertension or heart disease. The cells in our bodies require a very specific balance of sodium and potassium to function correctly. Sodium and potassium must be eaten in the right proportions to maintain balance. Potassium is abundant in leafy green vegetables, fruits, whole grains and many other whole, unprocessed plant foods. Meats tend to require a lot of salt (sodium) for palatability, therefore increasing the need for potassium as well. Most people however, just eat a lot of salt and do not leave room for filling up on vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans.
By Nina De Leon, CNC