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Friday Food News Feed: September 10

Given that it’s Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, the news this week has been weighted heavily (er…sorry) in that direction. First, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launched a $2 million initiative to bring together five civil rights organizations in a project to help reverse childhood obesity, especially in African-American and Latino communities. According to the foundation, 40 percent of Hispanic boys are overweight or obese, for example, while nearly three of every 10 African-American adolescent girls are obese. Also in New York City, the largest study of childhood obesity ever conducted in the city found that 40 percent of kindergartners through eighth-graders – more than 250,000 kids – are too heavy.

So what can be done? Doctor/author David S. Ludwig, writing in Organic Connections magazine, suggests that if we were to move back to the culture of the early 1960s (fewer TV channels, less processed food, kids getting more exercise, etc.) the childhood obesity problem would largely disappear. He recommends not a time machine but a gradual shift back to those old-school values.

The folks at HealthyChildren.org give us the 5, 2, 1, 0 rule (5 fruits and vegetables a day, 2 hours or less of screen time, 1 hour of physical activity, and zero (limited) sugar-sweetened drinks) to keep a healthy, active life. And Energy Times (along with Dr. Sara Stein) gives us some great tips for helping to boost your child’s “Nutritional IQ” by getting them involved in making and eating better foods.

Moving on:

Genetically Modified Foods: Lots of noise this week about a genetically modified salmon that the FDA is considering for approval. The fish has been modified with the gene from an eel-like fish that allows the salmon to grow twice as quickly as in nature. Two days of hearings on the issue are scheduled to start on September 19.

Egg Recall: It almost wouldn’t be a news wrap-up without more on the egg recall: The FDA now has a searchable database that allows you to check your eggs against those that have been recalled.

Back to School: FoodSafety.gov has a great post on keeping school lunches safe (example: If you pack perishable food in a brown paper bag, it could be unsafe to eat by lunchtime.).

School Lunch Profits: Speaking of school lunches, Mark Bittman writes on the question of whether school lunches could be causing obesity. One factor may be the “a la carte” option resulting in kids buying more junk. If you have a strong opinion about changing school lunches, now’s a great time to let your voice be heard. To get started, take this school food survey by Healthy Child.

Crunchy Orange Snacks: Last, if your idea of a crunchy orange snack is Cheetos, think again. USA Today reports that carrot manufacturers have a hip new marketing campaign and they’d like to be just as popular as junk food. Does that mean carrots are suddenly cool again? Works for us.

Happy Friday!

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