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Farm to Childcare Program Introduced in MN

Check out this article from the Public News Service - MN, talking about how statewide childcare centers are starting to introduce healthy habits and fresh foods to young children. (photo courtesy of New Horizon Academy)

ST. PAUL, Minn. – An effort to get more fresh, healthy and local foods on the plates of children in day care is now ready to roll out across Minnesota.

The development of the Farm to Childcare curriculum was led by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

Erin McKee VanSlooten, senior program associate of the institute’s Farm to Institution, says after a two-year pilot project, the curriculum has just been released for use statewide. Continue reading here

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Letter to the Editor - Fighting Childhood Obesity

The Southern Illinoisan hands out a "Golden Pen Award" every month to the person who writes the best Letter to the Editor.  Read below to see how Jagan M Ailinani,MD,FACR wants to fight childhood obesity.

To the Editor:

I commend Sen. Mattie Hunter, D-Chicago and Rep. Robyn Gabel, D-Evanston for proposing a tax(penny-per-ounce) on sugar-sweetened drinks to reduce obesity, particularly in children.

In the U.S, obesity among adults and children is a national epidemic; one in five children are obese and 1 in 3 are overweight. Severe childhood obesity rates have doubled since 1999. Obesity is turning young kids into biologic adults, aging them faster and facing adult illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, circulation problems, liver disease, kidney disease, cancer, sleep apnea, acid reflux, arthritis, depression and other diseases.

The main culprits of childhood obesity are sugar-sweetened drinks, sweets and processed foods. Marketing unhealthy food is the major cause of childhood obesity. Our kids are consuming too much sugar. One can of soda has 10 teaspoons of sugar. Drink sizes are getting bigger; from 7 ounces in 1955 to 40 ounces in 1990. Restaurants are offering super-size sodas with free refills for a dollar. Fruit juices, including lemonade, have plenty of sugar (a 20 ounce lemonade has 57 grams of sugar). According to new World Health Organization guidelines, only percent of a person's daily calories should come from added sugar, about 26 grams per day for a 2,000 calorie diet. Continue reading here

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Retired Generals From Minnesota Urge State Legislators To Increase Funding For Minnesota’s Safe Routes to School Program

On April 24th Mission: Readiness staff and a Minnesota volunteer met with Gov. Dayton and legislators to make the case for $6M for Safe Routes to School infrastructure.  The childhood obesity problem has been identified by the group as a national security issues.  Mission: Readiness also distributed a recent report showing how Safe Routes to School programs strengthen the future of national security by helping youth become more physically active. Read the report here

Additionally Rep. Dettmer asked House members to welcome and recognize Gen. Schulstad for his 34 years of service in the Air Force and his work with Mission Readiness to fight childhood obesity through initiatives like Safe Routes to School.

From Left: Kimberly Espinosa, Steve Doster, Gov. Dayton, Gen. Dennis Schulstad (retired), MDH Commissioner Ed Ehlinger, and Rachel Callanan (American Heart Association)

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