Posts for: July, 2014

Poor diet puts 1/3 of kids on path to diabetes

May 27th, 2014 

Editor's note: Donna Brazile, a CNN contributor and a Democratic strategist, is vice chairwoman for voter registration and participation at the Democratic National Committee. She is a nationally syndicated columnist, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and author of "Cooking With Grease: Stirring the Pots in America." She was manager for the Gore-Lieberman presidential campaign in 2000. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

It's been a long time. A very long time. But I cannot forget my first school lunch.
Call it free or call it charity, but it was a good meal that provided me, and so many others, with sustenance that made our school days more delightful. Our meals honored the traditions of the time - red beans and rice with smoked sausage, bread and perhaps dessert. And of course every Friday we had fish sticks, potato salad or French fries.

We've come a long way since then. Today, most public school children get perfectly balanced meals. School chefs use food selected to provide maximum nutrition, food that will enhance a student's well-being and learning abilities. Their standards come from federal nutrition experts in the U.S. Department of Agriculture who survey what important foods are missing from children's diets.

More than 90% of the nation's schools follow these criteria. Come September, guidelines for healthier snacks will be added. Still, for all our efforts, the White House reports that, because of a poor diet, one-third of our children are on the path to diabetes.

Regulations implementing the nutritional guidelines must be legislated by Congress. As it considers the Agriculture Appropriations Bill, Congress - especially House Republicans - will have to decide if it represents the interests of our children or of special food lobbyists.

For example, the Maryland-based School Nutrition Association has sought, and received, congressional support to grant a one-year waiver from the standards to schools that can demonstrate six months of financial loss. The group represents 55,000 school lunch workers and nutritionists. But The Washington Post quoted a health professional who said the group reflects its funders, who are mostly frozen food and agribusiness interests.

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What you need to know about diabetes and hot weather


KSDK – For people living with diabetes, hot weather can lead to serious health problems.

Dr. John Kirby of Barnes-Jewish Hospital says the heat – combined with summer behavior – sometimes leads to emergency room visits or hospitalizations.

"People tend to be more active, their eating habits different from their usual routine," he said. "Because they're out and about, they're perspiring more. Their own body temperature is going up."

Drinking water is key during the summer heat, as well as protecting diabetes medication and supplies.

Amy Tiemeier is an instructor at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy. She says excessive heat can harm the effectiveness of diabetes medications.

"The heat can really change the properties of that insulin, so that it really won't work for you," she said. "But it can also affect any pill that you're taking for your diabetes as well."

Tiemeier says if diabetics know they're going to be outdoors in a car, you may want to keep a cooler handy for medication and testing equipment.

"So you wouldn't want to leave your testing strips or your device in the car," she said. "Same thing if you're at the beach or something like that."

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