FGHL Blog: Megan Quinn - Creating Positive Health and Social Change for Kids in Munsieville, South Africa
Jun 25 2011
The Thoughtful Path program aims to engage and empower the community to create positive health and social change for the orphaned and vulnerable children in Munsieville. The community, community based organizations, and the local government are typically involved in all aspects of the various projects associated with the Thoughtful Path. That said, we have had the opportunity to meet with a variety of different community members and organizations during our time here.
Jun 23 2011
by Shana GilletteWhen Brande asked me to fill in for the Water = Hope Campaign, I couldn't have been happier. Having heard about the organization from her, I know it was an outreach effort really committed to making a difference in both the U.S. and abroad.
Coming primarily from a corporate event marketing background, I'm accustom to having a 'sell' at the events I manage. This time the 'sell' was easy - Everyone Everywhere should have access to clean drinking water. Period. Done.
Jun 16 2011
by Brande JacksonWe are very proud to be back out with Brad Paisley on his H20 Tour again this year. Our first stops in Virginia Beach, Hartford and Cleveland were a hug success; we talked to lots and lots of country fans about the importance of clean water. As always, we were impressed by how engaged fans were in our project, and how eager they were to help. Our first three shows were a big success, and we are very excited about the remaining dates over the course of the summer.
Like last year, we are also using our work with Brad to provide unique volunteer opportunities for those interested in this issue. By volunteering, you are not only contributing to your community (and getting a free Brad Paisley show as a thank you!) but demonstrating first hand the idea that a ‘small drop can make a big ripple’! To learn more about volunteering and to get signed up, visit:
Jun 14 2011
I have also been fascinated by the beauty of the traditional Samoan garb. It is very common to find men wearing Lava Lavas which is a cloth like wrap skirt, and the women to be clad in beautifully printed dresses complimented by a flower in their hair.
As I witness the beauty of this island, I have also taken note of the obesity problem. It baffles me to see people of an island that has a plethora of nutritious food to have one of the world’s highest obesity rates.
June 8, 2011
In Case You Missed It...
More than one-fifth of preschool children are overweight or obese. That’s 20 percent of kids 5 years old and younger who are already on track for chronic health problems such as cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease before their first day of kindergarten.
That’s more than 4 million toddlers already queued up for health issues that will last them a lifetime. And of the heaviest youngsters — those who are obese — more than 160,000 live in Tennessee.
Our state’s and our nation’s obesity epidemic is well-documented, and childhood obesity continues to be an appropriate focus. We are learning more and more how nutrition and exercise at the very earliest stages of life can have a dramatic impact on our bodies as we age.
If the body mass index (or BMI, the ratio of height to weight that is typically used to determine a healthy weight) increases too soon or too rapidly for a young child — as young as 3 years old — research shows that child has a much higher risk of obesity later in life.
In short, too much fat produced too early sets the stage for a battle against obesity that will last a lifetime. Before most kids can add 1 plus 1 and get 2, their bodies are learning that being overweight is a way of life.
To start our children in life along this path is simply unacceptable.
There are plenty of statistics to cite, from economic — nearly $150 billion per year is being spent nationally to treat obesity-related medical conditions — to national security — more than 25 percent of all Americans ages 17-24 are unqualified for military service because they are too heavy. But those statistics shouldn’t be necessary.
Being overweight doesn’t necessarily equate to low self-esteem or an inability to achieve, but we cannot intentionally start toddlers out with a predisposition to type 2 diabetes and cancer and heart disease and expect things to be easier for them.
The next 15 years are going to be hard enough; we don’t need to make things any more difficult.
Solving the problem, however, is more complex; there is no silver bullet. Private- and public-sector leaders all have a critical role to play.
Several mayors from across the country recently pledged to do more for those in early child-care education settings in their cities. Many private-sector companies are helping to curb this epidemic, too. Specifically, a recent commitment from the planet’s largest retailers and food and beverage manufacturers to reduce calories in their products by 1.5 trillion by 2015 is laudable.
Parents, get kids moving
Parents also play a role. That’s why we’re calling on everyone to get our youngest kids more physically active. Whether that’s taking a walk or playing a game, it’s just as important for the 3-year-old in your life as it is for the 33-year-old in your life (or, in my case, older still). Cut out the sugar-sweetened beverages for kids under 5 and look to low-fat or nonfat milk for kids over 2 years old.
Equally, the private sector needs to continue to step up. Parents don’t need more complexity and more costs; they need more answers and easier ways to provide a healthy lifestyle for their kids. We need the private sector to make healthy choices as easy and as economical as possible.
We’re asking private industry to better serve their customers and communities by helping them access healthier products. This allows kids to have healthy childhoods. We can do better.
For a nation that prides itself on opportunity, we owe our youngest and most vulnerable at least that: the pledge to ensure their future is as healthy as possible.
And that means starting right from the beginning.
The Honorable William H. Frist, M.D., is vice chairman of the Partnership for a Healthier America, an organization working with the private sector to solve the nation’s childhood obesity crisis.