Wednesday, July 30, 2008

We Must Help The Kids

“I could be a vegetarian - I love vegetables” is one of the more surprising reactions I get from some people when they learn that I am a vegetarian. My standard reply has been, “Vegetarianism is about protein. Everybody should be eating vegetables.”

But the problem is they don’t. There is no doubt that the foundation of a healthy diet and weight control is the significant consumption of vegetables and fruit. Unfortunately, many adults do not like these fine foods - so we must make sure kids don’t develop these attitudes.

The U. S government reports that the number of Americans with diabetes has grown to about 24 million people, or roughly 8 percent of the U.S. population. A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), based on data from 2007, said the number represents an increase of about 3 million over two years. The CDC estimates another 57 million people have blood sugar abnormalities called pre-diabetes, which puts people at increased risk for the disease.

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the country and can cause serious health problems, including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and amputations. It is well established that overweight predisposes people to illness and that the regular consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the best defenses against overweight, in addition to being a protective factor against most chronic ailments.

In addition, a new study reported in the journal Pediatrics shows that when infants are exposed to fruits and vegetables repeatedly, they’re more likely to not only eat them, but to actually want to eat them. Researchers in Philadelphia looked at a group of 45 4- to 8-month-olds and found that the babies ate more green beans when they were fed these vegetables repeatedly, regardless of whether they had already developed a taste for sweeter peaches.

Obesity rates in the U.S. have tripled among children ages 2 to 5 and nearly quintupled among 6- to 11-year-olds since the 1970s, according to the CDC. The medical consequences amount to an estimated $100 billion a year and an immeasurable amount of human suffering. Kentucky cardiologist, Dr. James W. Holsinger Jr., nominated as the next surgeon general, says fighting childhood obesity is his top priority.

I am happy to say that these studies confirm the ideas behind my new book, “The ABC's of Fruits & Vegetables and Beyond.” My basic notion is to have kids’ first words, that is their ‘ABCs,’ be ‘B is for banana’ and ‘T is for tomato,’ instead of ‘ball’ and ‘truck.’ Everyone knows that if you want kids to learn things without resistance – languages for example - start them young.

B is for bananas.
The US loves this fruit -
It certainly is "a peeling"
In its pretty yellow suit.
T is for tomato.
Did you know that it's a fruit?
Some say that it's a vegetable
Which causes a dispute.

After kids learn the alphabet through the amusing fruit and vegetable poems written by Jim Henson writer Steve Charney, their relationship to these important foods is strengthened by a variety of activities, such as jokes, geography, recipes and fun facts, in order to develop an easy-going relationship with them.

I have received confirmation of my approach from nutritionists, but what I am most happy about is that it is already being bought in quantity for class use.

We must help the kids.

(c) David Goldbeck

1 comment:

hsjacobus said...

Thank you for your comments on my blog. Good luck in all these wonderful efforts your making. I know exactly what your talking about in this blog. I grew up in a family where it was such a treat to have fresh fruit and vegetables due to financial circumstances. When we did have them we gobbled them up like candy. Now I have a family that has all they could possibly need and is completely picky, Hubby included. In fact only one of my children, bless him, will eat all his fruits and vegetables and with the same enthusiasm my siblings and I did. It's very frustrating as a mother. I can only hope that I can change the rest of their minds before they leave home or that they will quickly figure it out as they become adults. Starting in the schools with these kinds of rhymes just offers me as a mother one more form of back-up so truly, THANK YOU!