Tag Archives: Alzheimer_s

A Message to Caregivers Everywhere: What Family Members Want You to Know

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The moment a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, or any form of dementia, families are met with overwhelming responsibilities. Navigating the cruel and lengthy process requires a tremendous amount of support. Often outside help is required, which means caregivers and family members must work together as a team.

This is perhaps one of the greatest challenges. The care families desire for a loved one goes beyond merely completing tasks. These unspoken expectations often result in confused caregivers who perceive requests as unreasonable. What do families really want? The essence is found in these seven simple requests. Continue reading

Does Your Brain Need an Oil Change?

Humans really are fat heads. About sixty percent of the human brain is fat. To maintain proper brain health, you need to get adequate fat from your diet. But, not just any fat will do. Some fats damage the brain. The Standard American Diet (SAD) high in trans and hydrogenated fats worsens inflammation in the body, and this inflammation can damage delicate brain tissues. These unhealthy fats are found in fried foods, shortening, lard, margarine, baked goods, and processed and prepared foods.

Healthy fats help keep the lining of brain cells flexible so that memory and other brain messages can pass easily between cells. Both Omega-6 and Omega-3 fats are important to brain health and should be eaten in a one-to-one or two-to-one ratio to each other. However, the average North American eats these foods in a twenty-to-one to a fifty-to-one ratio, causing a huge imbalance and resulting Omega-3 deficiency. In this ratio, Omega-6 fats can cause or worsen inflammation, for which there is insufficient Omega-3 fats to keep inflammation under control. The typical diet, if it contains any healthy essential fatty acids, usually includes fats found in meat and poultry, or occasionally from nuts and seeds. Most of these fats are Omega-6 fatty acids.

Omega-6 fatty acids are found in the highest concentrations in corn, sunflower, and safflower oils. But, you are more than what you eat. I read somewhere that “you are what you eat eats.” So that means if you eat a diet with meat or poultry that was fed corn, or other grains high in Omega-6s, you’re getting lots of Omega-6s indirectly.

The best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids include flax seeds or oil, walnuts and walnut oil, some types of algae, krill oil, and fatty coldwater fish, particularly wild salmon. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a type of Omega-3 fatty acid, makes up a large part of the lining of brain cells, helps to keep the cellular lining flexible enough to allow memory messages to pass between cells, promotes nerve transmission throughout the central nervous system, and protects the energy centers of the cells, called “mitochondria,” from damage.

Fish that contain high amounts of this Omega-3 fatty acid include mackerel, sardines, albacore tuna, salmon, lake trout, and herring. But be aware, some of these fish have become contaminated with mercury and, as you just learned in chapter two, some research links mercury to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. So, it is important to avoid fish that consistently shows up high on the mercury radar, including predatory fish like swordfish and shark, as well as sea bass, northern pike, tuna, walleye, and largemouth bass. Salmon raised in fish farms also frequently shows up with high amounts of mercury, not to mention that farmed salmon often contains antibiotic residues and lower levels of the important Omega-3 fatty acids.

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, PhD, is an international best-selling and ten-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine, whose works include: Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, The Phytozyme Cure. and the upcoming e-book The Vitality Diet.  Check out her natural health resources and free newsletter at www.WorldsHealthiestDiet.com.

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / Stephen Rees

A New World

Watching the movie "A Beautiful Mind" I get a sense of how a person with dementia may experience the world differently than I do.

As I sit for meditation, my everyday way of experiencing the world dissolves and I emerge in an inner realm.  It is a peaceful, steady world.

As Carl continues on his journey through life with Alzheimer’s disease, his world changes as if he is moving from room to room in a funhouse at an amusement park:  A room of mirrors, then a spongy floor, then walking through a spinning tube, darkness, a moving floor.  Each room is its own world with its own perspective and laws of what is possible and what is appropriate.

Sitting with Carl, I look at him.  "What world are you in now?", I wonder.  I look in his eyes.  He turns his head to gaze out the window.  His eyebrows rise, a smile emerges and broadens.  Carl chuckles.  I follow his gaze to the squirrel clinging on the trunk of the tree, tail twitching.  In this moment I enter Carl’s world and I am with him completely.  Life is good.  We are fully present, together.  My heart lifts in joy.  I am present to the beauty of the squirrel’s tail, softly filtering the light.  I appreciate the curiosity, intensity and focus the squirrel is giving to its world; whatever is in its focus as it scurries up and down the tree.  The agility is beautiful.  The muscles ripple as the squirrel moves easily, sniffing at the bark.  I am with Carl in a new world of beauty and companionship.  I hold his hand as I learned to do in Kindergarden.  Life is offering beauty and we are receiving it.

Most of our lives are spent in our own inner world, in the solitude of our own perspective.  A person can go on in relationships for years in their own worlds, assuming that their friend or partner is sharing the inner experience, awakening one day to find he is the only audience to his soliloquy.  I speak from experience.

What world are you in now?  What is being offered to you?  What is possible for you?  Whose world do you dare enter?  Who do you invite into yours?

Thanks for the lesson, Carl.

–David

David Lazaroff is the founder of Holistic Community Living, a Colorado nonprofit founded to operate and teach others to operate neighborhood-based assisted living homes where people can complete their lives with those they love.  Vote for a $250,000 grant for Holistic Community Living every day in September at http://refresheverything.com/holistic Subscribe for daily voting reminders here.

Cure for All Suffering Found!

Do you notice that when you are full with joy, there is no room for sadness or suffering? I learned this from my grandmother as she progressed through colon cancer and chose to decline morphine for the pain saying, "I want my mind clear, I want to see my grandchildren." When she was with her family, regardless of the pain, grandma was not suffering, she was enjoying life.

More than thirty five years later, I am still appreciating the depths of lessons from grandma.  I recognize the same lessons coming from others.  Carl continues to teach me since 2004 when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and I began helping him.  As dementia progresses, frustration swells from time to time.  These are moments of suffering, like a dream of running for your life, but not getting anywhere, except it is real.

Suffering is the experience of our attention lingering on a subject in the state of despair.  A frightening or frustrating experience is not suffering.  A painful experience is not suffering.  Keeping our attention in a state of despair on a frightening, frustrating, or painful experience is suffering.  Suffering is when we cling to distress.

Grandma taught me how to cure Carl’s suffering.  I hold his hand and look into his eyes.  I smile and let him know he is loved and valued for the love he gives as he squeezes my hand.  I play guitar and sing to him.  I walk with him in the park.  His suffering is cured.  When a new suffering arises, Carl’s caregivers know how to cure that one too.

Compassionate companionship displaces suffering. Take the time to hold hands, look into eyes, and enter the world of another.  You can displace suffering with love and a sense of ease, regardless of the physical circumstances.  Engaged loving care is the cure for suffering. Try it! No prescription necessary. Apply liberally, as needed. Unlimited refills.

–David

David Lazaroff is the founder of Holistic Community Living, a Colorado nonprofit founded to operate and teach others to operate neighborhood-based assisted living homes where people can complete their lives with those they love.  Vote for a $250,000 grant for Holistic Community Living every day in September at http://refresheverything.com/holistic Subscribe for daily voting reminders here.

Alzheimer’s: The Heart Remembers What the Mind Forgets

Alzheimer’s is such a devastating disease. The patient experiences the terrifying feeling of losing their mind, while family and friends struggle with a loved one’s inability to remember a visit several minutes after they’ve left. Does the loved one ultimately gain anything from a visit from friends and family, when they don’t remember that visit shortly after it ends?

A new study says yes. Researchers from the University of Iowa concluded that people suffering from memory loss quickly forget the details of an experience but still remember the emotions associated with it. Feelings of happiness, for example, linger with them long after they’ve forgotten the cause of those feelings in the first place.
 

“On the other hand, routine neglect from staff at nursing homes may leave the patient feeling sad, frustrated and lonely even though the patient can’t remember why.” – Justin Feinstein, primary author

I’m not sharing this study to imply that someone “should” or “shouldn’t” visit a loved one with Alzheimer’s. After all, it’s equally important to note that family and friends remember the emotions from a visit, too, and negative emotions (according to the study) tend to persist even longer than positive emotions. We each have the right to consider our own unique situation when making complex personal choices. But if you do visit someone with Alzheimer’s, and you’ve been conflicted about whether your visits are doing any good, then this study says YES.

 

“We do not remember days; we remember moments.” – Cesare Pavese

(DrDebBrown.com)

Go the Distance with Strength Training

During the last decade I have had regular dialogues with an older woman in the gym where I work out. I love talking to seniors to listen to their words of wisdom along with stories about their past dreams and passions. Molly is now 85 years old and has Alzheimer’s. Her family just took away the keys to her car. “So, I had a little itty bitty accident. I don’t know why the other driver called the police. The only thing that was damaged was his license plate,” she said rather clinically and with total resignation.

For the last six years Molly kept pointing out to me that she was not the same woman she used to be. “But then who is?” I quipped. A consummate humorist, Molly had trouble recalling her favorite jokes. “So write them down in a notebook which you can carry with you and read them instead of recite them,” I suggested.
Even though she was painfully arthritic, Molly worked out and continues to do so six days a week lifting weights using the Cybex machines to hold her in place for proper execution of the movements. A bit thinner and wearing a sweater to her workouts nowadays, she spends her hour lifting weights, using the stationary bike and rowing machine for intervals.

However, now things have changed. Molly has become a trainer. She trains her companion who is eagerly learning from her how to use each machine – she can still teach younger women a thing or two. I greeted Molly and she answered with a big smile, “Hi good to see you. This is my friend, Gladys.” I greeted Gladys with a handshake. “See Gladys, this lady is a writer and I have all her books. Are you writing anything new? When will I see it? I’m not getting any younger, you know,” Molly laughed.

A few minutes later the three of us met in the locker room – each of us had coincidentally completed our workout.  Molly greeted me warmly, “Hi good to see you. This is my friend, Gladys.” I greeted Gladys as if this was the first time we had met. “This lady is a writer and I have all her books. Are you writing anything new?” I answered, “Of course, I’m always working on projects.” Molly laughed, “Well, hurry up. I’m not getting any younger.” “I’ll have it done for your birthday,” I answered emphatically.  Molly looked confused. She turned to Gladys and asked, “When is my birthday? Never mind, maybe I don’t want to know I’m that old.”

Mind your muscle
I am convinced that Gladys has postponed Alzheimer’s disease for many years and has enhanced the quality of her life with strength training. I recognized the subtleties of the disease in her, perhaps before her own family did, as both my parents had Alzheimer’s; experience is a great teacher.

Canadian researchers have recently reported that strength training improves cognitive function and lowers the risk for falls and disability in older adults. Although most prior research has focused on the benefits of aerobic exercise, this latest study focuses on strength training and the accompanying cognitive improvements. This is an important finding because strength training can be performed in cases where mobility is impaired and offers a first-rate alternative.

So, if an 85-year-old, arthritic woman with Alzheimer’s can still strength-train six times a week – what is your excuse for not exercising? Start making “deposits” in your own health savings account.

Inspire the seniors in your life by informing them that they can unleash their natural energy for greater control over their health and vitality. An eighty-six year old man, a friend of another gym member, bench presses 170 pounds – okay he sits down in between sets, but I wouldn’t want to mess with him.

Strength training teaches you to operate at full strength.

 

Could Marine Oil Be Alzheimer’s Silver Bullet?

While doctors are prescribing expensive drugs that can have devastating side effects to slow the progress of Alzheimer’s, new research shows it might be possible to prevent the onset of this cruel disease by something as simple, inexpensive, and safe as a dose of marine oil every day during our younger years.
 
In the US, as many as 5.3 million people live with Alzheimer’s. That number is predicted to double every 20 years.1 The latest medical thinking is that the escalating rate of Alzheimer’s disease has its roots in chronic inflammation that’s a result of the modern diet deficient in omega 3 fatty acids.
 
The first symptoms of Alzheimer’s generally appear after age 60. But according to the National Institute on Aging, the damage that eventually turns into Alzheimer’s disease can begin to occur 20 years before the first symptoms appear. Memory problems are one of the first signs that the downward slide to Alzheimer’s disease may be going on inside someone’s brain. Other symptoms include loss of motor control and problems with one’s sense of smell.
 
Prevailing medical opinion is that once the degenerative process involved in Alzheimer’s disease begins, it can, at best, be slowed. It cannot be stopped. It makes sense, therefore, to do whatever one can to prevent the process from beginning.
 
While some people have drawn a genetic short straw that predisposes them to develop Alzheimer’s disease, the latest medical research has identified chronic inflammation as the first stage in the process. For example, one team of researchers found that people whose blood carried the markers for inflammation, called cytokines, were more likely to go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease than test subjects without cytokines.2
 
Discovery of the link between inflammation and Alzheimer’s has led to research on the potential for anti-inflammatories to prevent the onset of the disease. In one study, a team of researchers tested a synthetic anti-inflammatory drug for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. They found that the anti-inflammatory drug "appeared to protect mild to moderately impaired Alzheimer’s disease patients from the degree of cognitive decline exhibited by a well-matched placebo-treated group." 3
 
While synthetic prescription anti-inflammatories may be beneficial as an Alzheimer’s preventative, the side effects of their long-term use can be serious. Consequently, doctors have been looking for safer options for their Alzheimer’s patients. One way to address chronic inflammation is by adding therapeutic omega 3 fatty acids to the diet. Eating more omega 3 rich cold-water fish such as salmon and tuna is helpful, but a better way to boost omega 3 levels is by taking a dietary supplement.
 
The best sources of omega 3 are marine oils, usually sold as fish oil capsules derived from salmon. The most potent omega 3 marine oil found to date is derived from the green-lipped mussel of New Zealand. At the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, Australia, Dr. Michael Whitehouse PhD compared stabilized mussel oil with other anti-inflammatory agents, which included several prescription medications. At a dose of 5mg per kilogram of body weight, the stabilized mussel oil was found to be 97 percent effective in reducing inflammation, and 350 times more potent than salmon oil as a source of omega 3. Dr. Whitehouse concluded that the mussel oil was clearly a superior medicinal compound, because it achieved the desired result without the side effects that accompanied synthetic anti-inflammatories.
 
Since inflammation has been shown to be a culprit behind a great many conditions–from heart disease and arthritis to asthma and Alzheimer’s–it makes sense to get more omega 3 into one’s diet. High-potency marine oil, such as that derived from the New Zealand green-lipped mussel, may be the answer.
 
SOURCES:
1 2009 statistics from the Alzheimer’s Association.
2 Zaldy S. Tan MD, Journal of the American Academy of Neurology, May 29, 2007.
3 Roberts L.J. et al. Neurology, 1993; 43:1609.

Could Marine Oil Be Alzheimer’s Silver Bullet?

While doctors are prescribing expensive drugs that can have devastating side effects to slow the progress of Alzheimer’s, new research shows it might be possible to prevent the onset of this cruel disease by something as simple, inexpensive, and safe as a dose of marine oil every day during our younger years.
 
In the US, as many as 5.3 million people live with Alzheimer’s. That number is predicted to double every 20 years.1 The latest medical thinking is that the escalating rate of Alzheimer’s disease has its roots in chronic inflammation that’s a result of the modern diet deficient in omega 3 fatty acids.
 
The first symptoms of Alzheimer’s generally appear after age 60. But according to the National Institute on Aging, the damage that eventually turns into Alzheimer’s disease can begin to occur 20 years before the first symptoms appear. Memory problems are one of the first signs that the downward slide to Alzheimer’s disease may be going on inside someone’s brain. Other symptoms include loss of motor control and problems with one’s sense of smell.
 
Prevailing medical opinion is that once the degenerative process involved in Alzheimer’s disease begins, it can, at best, be slowed. It cannot be stopped. It makes sense, therefore, to do whatever one can to prevent the process from beginning.
 
While some people have drawn a genetic short straw that predisposes them to develop Alzheimer’s disease, the latest medical research has identified chronic inflammation as the first stage in the process. For example, one team of researchers found that people whose blood carried the markers for inflammation, called cytokines, were more likely to go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease than test subjects without cytokines.2
 
Discovery of the link between inflammation and Alzheimer’s has led to research on the potential for anti-inflammatories to prevent the onset of the disease. In one study, a team of researchers tested a synthetic anti-inflammatory drug for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. They found that the anti-inflammatory drug "appeared to protect mild to moderately impaired Alzheimer’s disease patients from the degree of cognitive decline exhibited by a well-matched placebo-treated group." 3
 
While synthetic prescription anti-inflammatories may be beneficial as an Alzheimer’s preventative, the side effects of their long-term use can be serious. Consequently, doctors have been looking for safer options for their Alzheimer’s patients. One way to address chronic inflammation is by adding therapeutic omega 3 fatty acids to the diet. Eating more omega 3 rich cold-water fish such as salmon and tuna is helpful, but a better way to boost omega 3 levels is by taking a dietary supplement.
 
The best sources of omega 3 are marine oils, usually sold as fish oil capsules derived from salmon. The most potent omega 3 marine oil found to date is derived from the green-lipped mussel of New Zealand. At the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, Australia, Dr. Michael Whitehouse PhD compared stabilized mussel oil with other anti-inflammatory agents, which included several prescription medications. At a dose of 5mg per kilogram of body weight, the stabilized mussel oil was found to be 97 percent effective in reducing inflammation, and 350 times more potent than salmon oil as a source of omega 3. Dr. Whitehouse concluded that the mussel oil was clearly a superior medicinal compound, because it achieved the desired result without the side effects that accompanied synthetic anti-inflammatories.
 
Since inflammation has been shown to be a culprit behind a great many conditions–from heart disease and arthritis to asthma and Alzheimer’s–it makes sense to get more omega 3 into one’s diet. High-potency marine oil, such as that derived from the New Zealand green-lipped mussel, may be the answer.
 
SOURCES:
1 2009 statistics from the Alzheimer’s Association.
2 Zaldy S. Tan MD, Journal of the American Academy of Neurology, May 29, 2007.
3 Roberts L.J. et al. Neurology, 1993; 43:1609.

8 Intentional Steps Obama Could Take to Save Food

The landscape of health has changed. No longer are our families guaranteed a healthy livelihood, not in the face of the current rates of cancer, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimers and allergies. In the words of Elizabeth Warren, Harvard University law professor who is head of the Congressional Oversight Panel, "We need a new model," and we need a new food system. It’s our health on the line.

8 Steps Obama Could Take to Save Food

1. Evenly distribute government moneys to all farmers: The current system allocates the lion share of our tax dollars (approximately $60 billion) to farmers growing crops whose seeds have been engineered to produce their own insecticides and tolerate increasing doses of weed killing herbicides. As a result, these crops, with a large chemical footprint, are cheaper to produce, while farmers growing organic produce are charged fees to prove that their crops are safe and then charged additional fees to label these crops as free of synthetic chemicals and "organic". If organic farmers received an equal distribution of taxpayer funded handouts from the government, the cost of producing crops free from synthetic chemicals would be cheaper, making these crops more affordable to more people, in turn increasing demand for these products which would further drive down costs.  If we were to reallocate our national budget and evenly distribute our tax dollars to all farmers, clean food would be affordable to everyone and not just those in certain zip codes.

2. Reinstitute the USDA pesticide reporting standard that was waived under the Bush administration. In 2008, the USDA waived pesticide reporting requirements (a procedure that has been in place since the early 1990s) so that farmers and consumers would know the level of chemicals being applied to food crops. Given a report just released that reveals a 383 million pound increase in the use of weed killing herbicides since the introduction of herbicide tolerant crops in 1996 and the potential impact that this glyphosate containing compound is having on both the environment and on our health, perhaps the "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy assumed under the previous administration should be reversed.

3. Reinstate the pre-Bush administration dollar value that the EPA places on the life of every American: in May 2008, the Bush administration lowered the value placed on the life of every American by almost $1 million, benefiting corporations who use this figure in their cost benefit analyses, marking down our lives from $7.8 million to $6.9 million the same way a car dealer might markdown a "96 Camaro with bad brakes. The EPA figure is used to assess corporate liability when a company’s actions put a life at risk. While this figure benefits the corporations conducting the cost benefit analysis when assessing the health impact of their chemicals, the costs of these chemicals are being externalized onto the public in the form of health care costs.

4. Allow public debate over the nomination of pesticide lobbyist, Islam Siddiqui for Chief Agriculture Negotiator at the office of the United States Trade Representative. As addressed in a letter sent to Chairman Max Baucus and Ranking Member Charles Grassley of the Senate Finance Committee, Islam Siddiqui, nominated for Chief Agriculture Negotiator at the office of the United States Trade Representative, was formerly employed by CropLife America, whose firm challenged Michelle Obama’s organic garden, has consistently lobbied the U.S government to weaken international treaties governing the use and export of toxic chemicals such as PCBs, DDT and dioxins, and blocked international attempts to help regulate pesticides that increasingly linked to chronic skin and respiratory problems, birth defects and cancer in our community. Given that a growing body of scientific evidence supports the theory that chemicals in our food are contributing to the rise in health problems, particularly in children, the appointment of an industry lobbyist to export our challenged food system to the rest of the world may be in the best interest of agrichemical corporations but consideration should also be given to the health implications that these novel chemicals, proteins and allergens may have.

5. Encourage climate change advocates like Al Gore to discuss Pesticide Use by Big Ag and its Chemical Footprint: While speaking openly about the petroleum industry’s impact on global warming, leading environmental advocates like Al Gore have been quiet about the chemical contribution that the recent introduction of crops genetically engineered with pesticidal toxins play on global warming despite scientific evidence from the Royal Society of Chemistry highlighting their impact. Since the Clinton Administration’s introduction of biotech crops designed and engineered to both withstand increasing doses of weed killing chemicals and produce their own insecticides, new reports based on USDA data, show a 383 million pound increase in the chemicals being applied to these crops since their introduction in 1996. According to the Royal Society of Chemistry, "growing biofuels is probably of no benefit and in fact is actually making the climate issue worse" given that glyphosate, being applied in increasing doses to these crops, breaks down into nitrogen.

6. Update the Consumer Protection and Food Allergen Labeling Act to inform consumers of these newly engineered corn allergens: The recent engineering of novel food proteins and toxins into the US food supply has enhanced profitability for the food industry by allowing commodities like corn to produce their own insecticides. As a result, corn is now considered an insecticide and regulated by the EPA .  For this same reason, this corn has been either banned or labeled in products in other developed countries because the new toxins and novel allergens that it contains have not yet been proven safe. Despite the lack of evidence, this corn is in the American food supply. The increase in the rate of food allergies as demonstrated in the December issue of Pediatrics and the growing number of people with this condition- whose bodies recognize food as "foreign" and launch inflammatory reaction in an effort to drive out these "foreign" food invaders, speaks to the need to update and amend the food allergen labeling act to label these newly engineered genetically enhanced proteins and allergens as governments around the world do.

7. Ask the SEC to join the Department of Justice in its investigation into trade practices in agrichemical industry. As the Department of Justice begins its investigation into the impact that Monsanto’s monopoly is having on farmers, their financial situation and the food supply, research out of the USDA highlights that the biotech industry is not delivering on what some are calling their "hype-to-reality ratio". As farmers are charged premiums for seeds that have been engineered to produce greater yields, research out of the USDA, Kansas State University shows that these products are not delivering as promised, directly impacting the cost structures of farmers in a razor to razorblade scenario. As farmers purchase genetically modified seeds in the hopes that they will increase yields and drive down cost structure and their dependency on weed killers, studies now suggest that since the introduction of the "razor", these biotech crops introduced 13 years ago, farmers are actually spending more on the "razorblade", the herbicides and weed killers required to manage them, driving farmers debt to asset ratios to record levels. Given that Monsanto’s CFO, Treasurer, Controller are all leaving the company by year end, the Securities and Exchange Commission could interview these three exiting executives and learn more about the financial predicaments of Big Ag’s customers, the farmers, and the greater ramifications that this monopoly will have on food prices.

8. Appoint a Children’s Health Advisor to serve on the USDA’s National School Lunch Program: The landscape of children’s health has changed. No longer are the American children guaranteed a healthy childhood, not in the face of the current rates of obesity, diabetes and allergies. Perhaps it is time that we follow the lead of governments in other developed countries and create a Cheif Advisor for Child and Youth Health whose responsibilities might include, but not be limited to, serving in an advisory capacity to the USDA on the National School Lunch Program. Under the USDA’s current budget for the National School Lunch Program of approximately $8.5 billion (in comparison the Pentagon’s 2009 budget $600 billion), less than a dollar is available per meal for the purchase of healthy food once overhead costs are taken out. Given that 1 in 3 American children now has allergies, ADHD, autism of asthma and according to an October 2008 study from the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 3 Fourth graders is expected to be insulin dependent by the time they reach adulthood. As a result, dietary concerns are becoming increasingly prevalent for the estimated 30.9 million children and approximately 102,000 schools and child care institutions that participate in the National School Lunch Program. Given that increasing scientific evidence points to the roles that environmental insults like synthetic growth hormones in milk and trans fats in processed foods are having on our health, investing in a children’s health advisor may provide long term benefits to the future of our health care system .

It’s our food system on the line.  And if our children are any indicator, our health and the economic burden that it presents are on the line, too.