Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fighting Childhood Obesity-It's Planting Time in the Tropics

Paradise Greetings,

The gardens are getting planted! Little greens are popping through the earth! We've got some great garden projects going all over the county!

Lettuce, squash, cukes, swiss chard, tomatoes, basil, and more!

HOLD IT!!! We have a question for the gardeners of the world who are reading this right now. What is your success-based tip for keeping zucchini plants bug-free in the Florida climate? PLEASE SEND TIPS QUICKLY! Help keep the bugs at bay! Help protect our zucchinis!!

On a serious note, this morning I visited with Bonnie Swanson, principal at Vero Beach Elementary School (http://www.indianriverschools.org/). Mrs. Swanson gave me a tour of the new gardens the children are preparing and planting in preparation for their new green school to be built on the same school property. Rain barrels were installed yesterday in the biggest garden. Vero Beach Elementary is one of the schools that lost its "Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program" last year. In the midst of one of our nation's greatest failures, the obesity in children, this school's nutrition program took a major step backwards when it lost this program. Why is it that we are taking away children's access to fresh fruits and vegetables when what we need to do is to INCREASE ACCESS TO FRESH FRUITS AND VEGGIES???
Growing Healthy Kids is working to prevent type 2 diabetes (http://www.healthydiabetescoach.com/) and other obesity-related diseases in children. The school nutrition program plays a very important role in providing nutritious choices. Yet it is not working. This particular school has 88% of the kids eligible for the free and reduced meal program as a result of what Mrs. Swanson calls "situational poverty" as families struggle in a community with no job creation.
What I saw this morning at the school's cafeteria breakfast line was far from nutritious and not what kids need to be fit, smart, and ready to learn. There is much work to be done to improve the nutritional quality of the school food programs in America. That's why we're having a party at the school next Monday - stay tuned!!

Remember, send in your tips for keeping our zucchini plants bug-free!

Growing Healthy Kids - improving the health - and lives - of America's kids, one garden and one child at a time.

To your perfect health.

Nancy Heinrich

Founder, Growing Healthy Kids