What Is Slow Food > Slow Food USA Blog
Posted on Thu, August 12, 2010 by Slow Food USA
A Slow Food USA member writes about her experience teaching kids to garden as a means of diabetes prevention.
By Rebecca Kline, Slow Food USA member and part of the Fair Haven Community Health Center‘s Diabetes Prevention Program
|The Diabetes Prevention Program is a family-based initiative. Participants often bring their children to the work (play) alongside them in the garden!|
I pause my assault on the weeds to watch Mercedes who, in quiet opposition, folds her weeds into a baggie laced to her hip. She explains that in a tea, these leaves suppress nausea. Mercedes’ knowledge of the medicinal uses of plants is vast, even on soil 3,000 miles from her native Mexico. Ironically, her diet, consisting of affordable bodega-bought goods: $1/1 can soup or $2/50 corn tortillas, etc., has devastated her health.
Later that morning, as we take a well-deserved water break, Lucy tells me why she is participating in the Diabetes Prevention Program’s Lifestyle Intervention. Tears plow through the sweat and dirt that cover her face, almost in preparation for the story. When diabetes claimed all of her mother’s ten toes, Lucy’s interest in living diminished. She shut herself up, drew the curtains, and decided to be sad. It was easy for her to gain weight. Before long, Lucy’s health lined up perfectly with that of her mother’s.
If they do nothing to interrupt its development, Mercedes and Lucy will both have diabetes within ten years. They are two of an approximately 57 million people (or one in four above 20 years old) in the United States whose elevated blood glucose levels constitute a significant risk for developing the disease (US Department of Health and Human Services).
Mercedes and Lucy are also two of 155 Hispanic women who have participated in a 12-week intensive Diabetes Prevention Program Lifestyle Intervention (LI) run by the Fair Haven Community Health Center. This program was initially supported by the Connecticut Health Foundation and is now part of a larger research evaluation in partnership with Yale Center for Clinical Investigation and funded by the Donaghue Foundation. It is modeled after the National Institute for Health (NIH) groundbreaking clinical research study that proved that “millions of high-risk people can delay or avoid developing type 2 diabetes by losing weight through regular physical activity and a diet low in fat and calories.” According to the study, individuals with pre-diabetes can reduce their risk of going on to develop diabetes by 58% with a modest 5-7% weight loss. The clinicians at the Fair Haven Community Health Center modified the NIH’s lifestyle intervention program to meet the needs of their predominantly Hispanic population in New Haven, Connecticut, where they discovered that an astonishing 40% of Latina women have pre-diabetes.
Posted on Fri, August 06, 2010 by Jerusha Klemperer
Just when we all assumed that Congress was too busy to talk child nutrition before their summer break, the Senate passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act late today.
Just when we all assumed that Congress was too busy to talk child nutrition before their summer break, the Senate passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act late today. It provides an additional $4.5 billion over 10 years to federal child nutrition programs including the National School Lunch program. The days leading up to this unanimous passage had been full of urgent calls to action—from Michelle Obama in the Washington Post to Senator Richard Lugar in the New York Times.
Does this mean this long road—the battle to get a fully funded and improved child nutrition bill—has finally come to an end? Not yet. The House still has to pass it as well (and then there will be reconciliation, etc.). The clock is ticking however; the bill expires on September 30th and the new funding contained within will be lost if it isn’t reauthorized by then.
The version that passed in the Senate included a bunch of our priorities - more funding for healthier meals, regulations to kick junk food out of school vending machines, and $50 million for Farm to School programs, but it also makes cuts to food stamps in order to pay for them.
This process has now dragged on for nearly a year past its original expiration date—now’s the time to urge your House Rep to help bring this process to a close, which would, as our First Lady said today “bring us one step closer to reaching that goal [of ending childhood obesity].”
UPDATE: Earlier this week there was some concern that the House, in an effort to move speedily before heading off for August recess, might pass the Senate version. Thanks to the 4,000+ of you of you who responded to our call to action with a letter to your Rep urging them, to pass the HOUSE version (the House bill avoids making cuts to food stamps (SNAP) - a move which will impact the children that are the most vulnerable. School lunch should not be funded at the expense of other important food programs). In the meantime, you can still use the link above to write your Rep—urging them to pass the bill before the September 30th expiration.