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Diabetes Prevention and Election Day: Start Locally

Posted Nov 02 2010 7:29am
I'm participating in the American Diabetes Month blogging challenge, posting daily about issues related to diabetes and diabetes awareness.  Today their suggested topic is "Election Day - what would you tell your elected officials about diabetes?"

What would I say? It's not about where to begin - it's where would I end?  I posted a few days ago about how the current estimates put the rate of adult-onset (Type II) diabetes at something like 1 in 3 adults in a few years.  If that doesn't frighten you enough, how about this; many of those cases are preventable.

I would tell politicians...
  • They need to act locally to support physical education and exercise programs. Make sure playgrounds are safe. Build support for local Little League and soccer teams. Look into creating Rail Trails (former railway lines that are now used for biking, walking and other sports).  What can they do locally to provide safe places for people to get outside and move?
  • How about removing vending machines from schools?  There is absolutely NO need for soda and candy machines in public schools. Period.
  • Ditto for the school lunch program. It's an atrocity and a joke.  We are feeding children sub-prime food and counting sugar filled ketchup as vegetables.  I've heard comments like, "Well if we give kids healthy foods they won't eat them."  If that's the only choice you put on their plate, they WILL eat them. They may go hungry for a few days while complaining bitterly about the lack of chocolate milk or greasy French fries, but I guarantee you - after kicking up a fuss, they'll start eating the fresh apples and oranges you put on their lunch trays instead of the junk food.
  • Stop regulating HEALTHY foods and supplements and start looking into the mess created by the packaged food industry.  I've seen posts that the government wants to stop backyard organic gardening and stop all sales of raw milk; I've seen many such posts just as the entire slow, local and organic food movement has taken off.  Yet is the government looking into all the chemicals added to our foods? No, they deem them safe...while rates of cancer, obesity, and diabetes skyrocket, along with autoimmune diseases and a host of other diseases mankind didn't see 100 years ago in these great numbers.  So, what will it take for the government to get out of the back pocket of the food lobbyists and start thinking logically?
I'm not into regulating food.  I really don't want any laws telling people what they can and cannot eat. That's really un-American.  I want the least government intrusion into my daily life and yours as possible. I didn't even like the ban on trans-fats; to me, it's my responsibility to choose foods wisely, and yours too, not the government's to tell me what I put into my mouth.

Diabetes is a complicated disease with many facets and many contributing causes. Genetics, environment, and much more contribute to it.  But I do think we need to act locally to make safe places for people to exercise and teach our children that healthy foods are good tasting foods.  
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