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News stories tagged with "obesity"

Image: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County
Image: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County

Speed dating to bring fresh food to the table

You may have heard of "speed dating." It's a no-nonsense, fast, and fun way to meet a bunch of people and maybe find that certain someone. People sit across from one another, chat for five minutes, and see if there's a spark. Then they move on to the next potential match.

Farmers and chefs are searching for "eat local" love today in Watertown. Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County is hosting a speed dating event at Jefferson Community College. The goal is to get more restaurants to put more local fruits and vegetables on their menus.  Go to full article
Lake Placid News editor Andy Flynn has begun chronicling his efforts to lose weight and change his lifestyle.  It's a very public account of a uniquely American health challenge.  (Photo: provided by Andy Flynn and used with permission)
Lake Placid News editor Andy Flynn has begun chronicling his efforts to lose weight and change his lifestyle. It's a very public account of a uniquely American health challenge. (Photo: provided by Andy Flynn and used with permission)

For Adk journalist, a public struggle with obesity

One of the major challenges facing the North Country is the growing number of people who are overweight or obese. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 60% of the people in our region are too heavy.

The problem is compounded in many rural towns by the difficulty of finding healthy, unprocessed food and adequate healthcare. For many people that means a constant battle with hypertension, diabetes and other ailments.

Now one of the North Country's most prominent writers and journalists has decided to tell that story in the most personal way possible.  Go to full article

"Subversive gardening" on World Food Day

Today is World Food Day, a day to think about hunger and food insecurity around the world and in our backyard.

High school students from around the North Country are meeting at SUNY Potsdam today for a Food Day Youth Summit.

Keynote speaker Roger Doiron, founder and director of Kitchen Gardeners International, led the successful effort to get a kitchen garden planted at the White House.  Go to full article
Students order up pizza at AA Kingston Middle School in Potsdam. Photo: Julie Grant
Students order up pizza at AA Kingston Middle School in Potsdam. Photo: Julie Grant

USDA bets kids will learn to love healthier lunches

This fall marks the beginning of the second year of the ambitious new $11 billion national school lunch program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture now requires more fresh fruits and vegetables, lower sodium, more whole grains, and a daily calorie limit at every public school lunch. The program has grown this year to also include breakfast.

Some schools have complained, saying they're losing money because many students are no longer buying lunch at schools. And some parents say their kids are going hungry. A handful of schools have dropped out of the program, foregoing the federal reimbursement for free and reduced-price lunches.  Go to full article
The North Country's food deserts are in pink. Image: USDA
The North Country's food deserts are in pink. Image: USDA

Irrigating a rural "food desert"

You may have heard about "food deserts", low income areas in cities where supermarkets won't open because they won't make enough money. Area residents struggle to find affordable and fresh fruits and vegetables. Food deserts are widely considered to be one cause of America's obesity epidemic.

It turns out rural areas have "food deserts", too - even when there's a roadside farm stand right down the road, and the USDA's food desert map shows much of the rural North Country falls into that category.

Cornell Cooperative Extension recently won a $96,000 grant to try to improve both consumer access to fresh fruits and vegetables and local farm production. Jefferson and Lewis County Extension Research Educator Amanda Root spoke with David Sommerstein.  Go to full article

Natural Selections: Fat

Between the ages of 20 and 50, the average American doubles his or her body fat. As turkey and trimmings are placed on the table and visions of sugar plums dance, get "the skinny" on fat from Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley.  Go to full article
They are a lot more relaxed, a lot more ready to learn and be engaged in what they are doing

Audio Postcard: A morning walk at Edwards-Knox

It's officially summer for North Country children whose school sessions ended last week. Their parents and teachers are hoping they carry an important lesson with them into summer break - exercise.

Schools are spending more time preaching the importance of exercise to combat childhood obesity. At Edwards-Knox elementary school in St. Lawrence County, students start every day the same way - with a fifteen-minute walk outside.

Steve Knight joined Denise Koser's fourth grade class for their morning walk - as well as a yoga session - and sent this audio postcard.  Go to full article
Richard Daines
Richard Daines

Former health commissioner dies

The state's former health commissioner, Dr. Richard Daines, died suddenly over the weekend. The probable cause of death was a heart attack. Daines was the public figure in former Governor Paterson's effort to pass a tax on sugary drinks. Karen Dewitt reports.  Go to full article

Article provokes anti-cheese firestorm

A cool glass of milk is an American icon of health. But a New York Times article over the weekend casts milk's dairy cousin, cheese, as a poster child of artery-clogging, obesity-inducing fast food.

The article details the efforts of a USDA-sponsored marketing agency called Dairy Management to get people to eat more cheese. Among its projects is a partnership with Domino's to put 40% more cheese on its pizzas. That effort included a $12 million advertising campaign, paid for by Dairy Marketing.
Meanwhile, the USDA itself says cheese is the largest source of cholesterol-causing saturated fat in the American diet.

The Times article set off a flurry of blog posts and opinion pieces with outraged titles like "Strap on Your Feedbags" and "Cheese Industrial Complex." Some commentators called for the new Congress to axe the program as a symbol of excessive government spending.

Reaction in the dairy industry has been muted. But Beth Meyer of the American Dairy Association emphasizes a fact that appears halfway through the article. Dairy farmers - not taxpayers - foot most of the $140 million a year bill to fund Dairy Management as a part of their monthly milk check.

"It's 15 cents per hundredweight," Meyer says. "Ten cents of that money stays local for organizations such as ours, based in Syracuse, NY, so of that goes nationally. So it's really a program of dairy farmers supporting promotion of their own product, which obviously makes a lot of sense."

Still, Dairy Management did get more than $5 million through the USDA last year to promote sales overseas.

Dairy Management is credited with helping to slow the decline of milk drinking with its popular "Got Milk?" campaign.

Meyer says she doesn't think the criticism of the program will hurt North Country farmers. She says there's a place for cheese in moderate eating. "Cheeses are an excellent source of calcium," Meyer says. "They're a nutrient dense food, and we talk about fitting foods into the daily diet, so we think this continues to be a strong program for the dairy farmers in northern New York and certainly throughout our marketing area."

Dairy Management's efforts raise thorny questions about the balance between supporting farms and promoting good nutrition. Local agriculture groups across the North Country encourage farmers to sell so-called "value added" products like cheeses, maple candies, or jellies and jams. Many of them are high in calories.

David Sommerstein put the issue to Bernadette Logozar, local food specialist with Cornell Cooperative Extension.  Go to full article

Tough times in the cafeteria

These are challenging times for people who run school lunch programs. A national TV show this spring took on the school food system.

Leaders in Washington are debating how much money the country should spend on childhood nutrition. And new concerns about nutrition are an eerie echo of the origins of the public school lunch. Julie Grant reports.  Go to full article

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