In our previous blog, we talked about Project Lean and the groundbreaking efforts to reduce saturated fat in the American Diet. We recently spoke with Dr. Sarah Samuels who told us, “The focus now is on improving access to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity by changing food environments in schools and neighborhoods and opening up parks and playgrounds and school yards.”

Believe it or not, these days, play time means screen time. USA Today reports some schools broadcast Nintendo Wii “exergames” in classrooms and afterschool programs because they make exercise more attractive to kids. An elementary school in Los Angeles is using Dance Dance Revolution in PE class that has kids lined up waiting to work out!  Earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics gave their seal of approval on the games. Of course, these video games can’t supplant real exercise, which we boomers prefer, and tackling childhood obesity takes more than increased activity levels. How about restricting how junk food is marketed to kids? Also, over the past decade, many studies have shown that children from families who eat together do better in school, that eating “whole” foods is healthier, that eating sustainably will save the environment.

Awareness of eating the right kinds of foods and eating smart has moved front and center. Product labeling is continually being refined. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are diligent in oversight of the safety of our food supply, and the USDA revised the food pyramid and nutritional guidelines. Education and outreach projects connect local food producers and consumers. And, Dr. Samuels’ work has resulted in legislation, policy changes and programs that have reshaped the environment, creating opportunities for healthier choices.”

To reclaim the pleasures of eating and sharing meals in a culture overrun by industrial agriculture and flavorless, even dangerous food, the farm to table and locavore movements continue to gain momentum. We boomers know that long-term maintenance of our well-being has environmental dimensions and an organic food supply source, free of toxins and hormones, is critical. The pure food movement makes sense to those concerned about gene-altered food, as well. We reviewed Rare Seeds, where you will find information on heirloom agriculture. Anyone who has tasted an heirloom tomato can attest to its purely sublime flavor!  There are more farmer’s markets, food cooperatives and community gardens in towns, and more people growing their own food, even in cities.

In our reviews of The Roadmap to 100 – The Breakthrough Science of Living a Long and Healthy Life, and of The Longevity Prescription: The 8 Proven Keys to a Long, Healthy Life both Dr. Walter Bortz and Dr. Robert N. Butler agree that healthy aging requires taking ownership. Among their prescriptive advice is to eat our way to health by making healthy food choices. None of us wants to live long without a strong body and clear mind.

Boomers are invested in maintaining optimum wellness. We applaud Dr. Samuels and her associates, who are on the frontlines doing “research to inform and shape policies to remove junk food, especially from schools and after school programs, improve the quality of PE, improve neighborhood stores, bring farmer’s markets and produce stands into low income communities… and evaluate community-wide initiatives across California and the nation.”

Such initiatives help us set the example for our progeny, by actively taking charge of living well.

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