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Not Your Grandfather’s Disease: Youth Change the Conversation About Type 2 Diabetes

Most young people consider diabetes a “grandfather’s disease,” inherited at birth. They don’t always know that there are two very different forms of the disease, and that type 2 diabetes is preventable. This lack of awareness has staggering implications—between 2000 and 2008, rates of diabetes and prediabetes among Americans ages 12 to 19 shot from 9 percent to 23 percent.

That’s where the The Bigger Picture comes in. Youth Speaks, a San Francisco based arts nonprofit that empowers teenagers through poetry, teamed up with the University of San Francisco’s Center for Vulnerable Populations in 2010 to launch a project that encourages young people to “raise their voice and change the conversation around type 2 diabetes.” Read more

Paula Deen: From Market to Pharmacy

Paula Deen’s public admission that she has Type 2 diabetes and her follow-up announcement that she is also a paid spokesperson for the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, and its diabetes drug, Victoza, has sparked an interesting debate about the deeper issues surrounding our food system—especially the impact it has on the many people diagnosed with diabetes. And according to Deen’s comments on the Today show, she implies to her millions of fans, that the primary ways to deal with this largely diet-related disease are through personal responsibility and pharmaceuticals. Read more

Wave of Change at Farmers’ Markets: An Interview with Michel Nischan

A recent report by the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC) and Farmers Market Coalition (FMC) called “Real Food, Real Choice: Connecting SNAP Recipients with Farmers Markets,” gives detail to the economic, social and technological roadblocks that often prevent many Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants from buying fresh and healthy food at their  local, or not so local, farmers markets. Is the real issue access or affordability? Michel Nischan, CEO and President of Wholesome Wave, talks about how their innovative programs are helping to avert a national health care crisis. Read more

Health Care Reform Begins at the USDA

“The less we spend on food, the more we spend on health care,” said Michael Pollan last week on Oprah.

Today, Americans spend almost 20 cents of every dollar managing disease–diabetes, allergies, asthma, cancer, obesity–and only 10 cents of every dollar on food.

The jury is still out on what exactly may be causing all of these epidemics, but genetics don’t change that quickly, the environment does. And increasing evidence points to the role that diet is playing in the onset of disease. Read more

Why a Twenty-Something Should Care About School Lunch

For many twenty-somethings like myself, issues like school lunch can be murky and distant. I’m not eating school lunch; nor do I have children who are eating school lunch (nor will I in the foreseeable future). When I think of school lunch, I mostly envision a Wonder Years-style cafeteria line, complete with mystery meat (or is it called Salisbury steak?) and a scoop of mashed potatoes. Not so bad, not so good, but unchanging and unchangeable. Right? Wrong. Read more

High Fructose Corn Syrup Campaign Leaves a Sour Taste in My Mouth

Earlier last week the Corn Refiners Association launched a multimillion-dollar media campaign to defend high fructose corn syrup as a “quality” sweetener, in the face of mounting public perception that this cheap, ubiquitous compound has played a not-so-sweet role in making Americans chunky and sick. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just announced that the number of Americans with diabetes increased to 24 million in 2007. But that’s just the tip of that deadly sundae: another 57 million Americans have pre-diabetes, a condition that vastly increases the risk of developing diabetes in the future. Read more