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From Mayo Clinic’s Transform 2010 Conference: How Sick Are Our “Healthy” School Lunches?

Mrs. QAppearing as a Second Life 3D virtual-world avatar at Mayo Clinic’s “Transform 2010″ symposium (watch the video here), Mrs. Q – a teacher and the anonymous author of the blog “Fed Up With Lunch: The School Lunch Project” — told the story of how her unique health mission has come to be. She’s determined to help people understand just how sick our “healthy” school lunches really are.

Mrs. Q has sparked the interest of child health advocates around the country. Thanks to programs like First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move Initiative” and Jamie Oliver’s “Food Revolution,” the nation is paying more attention to childhood obesity and school lunch reform.

Mrs. Q’s blog was started because of her own experiences with school meals after she ate the food prepared at school because she forgot her lunch at home. She keeps her identity a secret due to fear of losing her teaching job. Read more »

Let Kids Be “Willy-Nilly”

As a cardiologist and advocate for healthy living through exercise, the bleak news of rising childhood obesity hits me hard. But as an endurance athlete well versed in the inflammatory effects of excessive exercise, and a coach of middle school children, recent news reports on the overtraining of American youth is equally troublesome.

The overtraining of the young American athlete has risen to the level of capturing the attention of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  I planned on letting this New York Times piece pass quietly, as yet another documentation of how adults are either explicitly or implicitly drilling out the young athlete — sacrificing fun at the alter of performance. Little League-like overzealousness is old news dating back to my era, I thought. But I just couldn’t help myself. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr John M*

Active Kids, Outdoor Play, And Little Mishaps

Outdoor play“Play, Incorporating Animistic and Magical Thinking Is Important Because It: Fosters the healthy, creative and emotional growth of a child; Forms the best foundation for later intellectual growth. Provides a way in which children get to know the world and creates possibilities for different ways of responding to it. Fosters empathy and wonder.”  – Rachel Carson, “A Sense of Wonder

Remember “Red Light, Green Light,” “One-Two-Three,” “Tag, You’re It,” “Mother, May I?” or “Kickball?” These are just some of the good old-fashioned outdoor games kids used to play, and they are making a comeback. There’s nothing better than the sound of kids playing outdoors. Even kids playing outside making up their own games can bring them a lot joy and can be great exercise. With all the technology that surrounds us today, it’s great to see kids playing in the park and in their backyards.

It’s no secret that outdoor play and fresh air are great for kids’ overall physical and emotional well-being. In fact, a study in the journal Pediatrics concludes that children ages 8 and 9 who had more than 15 minutes of recess had better classroom behavior. This study suggests that school children in this age group should be provided with daily recess. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Health in 30*

Healthy, Active Kids Come From Healthy, Active Adults

First RunKids are like dogs — you can train them until they’re too old to train. Then they’re going to do whatever they want.

The key to getting kids to exercise is to make it fun for them. But they aren’t going to exercise if it isn’t made a part of their normal routine. It’s up to adults to train them.

Mrs. Happy and I had the joyous opportunity of inviting our 10-year-old niece to her first-ever running event. She had never ever run in a race before. We did the two-mile race and she loved it. And amazingly, she finished without stopping — not even once.

Our nation is raising a nation of fat and lazy kids because we’re lazy adults. We drive everywhere. We sit at our desks. We get food on the run. We watch a lot of television. We surf the Net a bunch. And we have stopped moving. We have literally stopped moving. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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