Wednesday, May 8, 2013



“People need to start growing their own food.” My friend, Kelly Nosler, stood up and said this during the lively community discussion at The Majestic Theatre following the recent screening of A Place at the Table.  Kelly is a 4th generation Indian River County resident working to bring new technology to classrooms, to families, and to neighborhoods so that people have affordable access to locally grown foods.   This is one of the strategies for solving the childhood obesity epidemic in America.  Buy a packet of seeds for your kids and see what happens when you plant them (the seeds, not the kids!). 

COMING SOON!  The annual Growing Healthy Kids Poster Contest will be announced this month.  This year’s contest will be held during the summer so your kids can create great art AND help us teach kids and parents around the world with their voices. 

One of the winning posters from last year's GHK contest.

Last week I taught two classes to adults who are caregivers for people with diabetes.  I was astounded, as usual, by the number of questions from the audiences about how food affects our health.  A lot of the questions were about getting to a healthier weight.  Many had questions about sodas, diet sodas, and foods labeled "sugar-free".  

An article in the April 29, 2013 online Wall Street Journal (WSJ) caught my attention about the magnitude of the impact that eating and drinking foods filled with refined sugars, sugar alcohols, and artificial sweeteners is having on the health of our children.  In Children on Track for a Heart Attack, writer Ron Winslow discussed a new study based on nearly 900 children and young adults about the hardening of the arteries showing up in kids.  When this occurs, it is a sign of accelerated aging, according to Dr. Elaine Urbina, head of preventive cardiology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.  It raises the risk of dangerous outcomes relatively early in adult life.  Winslow writes, “The good news is that doctors believe health can be restored to young people’s arteries with regular physical activity and a healthy diet.  This includes cutting back on sugary beverages and foods high in carbohydrates such as potatoes, white rice and pasta.”

Speaking of carbs, in another interesting WSJ article about a gathering of chefs at the James Beard Foundation Awards, I found another “sign” I have to share with you:  [Chef Jesse] Schenker has recently made headlines less for the food he was preparing than for his weight loss (about 55 pounds). He said he’s kept it off. “Seafood and vegetables,” he advised. “Cut out the carbs and the sugar.”

The fact is that obesity is the leading risk factor for diabetes.  If children are overweight or obese and have family members with type 2 diabetes, their risk for developing this disease at a profoundly young age is greatly increased.  As we know, if a youth is diagnosed with diabetes by age 15, it will subtract at least 17 years  from their lifespan. 

If you have a family member with diabetes, then do something to improve your own health literacy.  Get a copy of an educational DVD I produced that has a profound impact on anyone who watches it.  It is true to my mission of creating easily digestible ways to shift your health outcomes and improve your health literacy.  Here is the link:  

I’d love to hear from you.  What are YOU growing this summer in your kitchen garden?

In gratitude,
Nancy Heinrich
Founder, Growing Healthy Kids