Three Cheers for Jamie Oliver

The Huffington Post—July 6, 2010

By Helene Pavlov, MD, FACR, Radiologist-in-Chief at Hospital for Special Surgery

While watching episodes of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution I was reminded of a post that I wrote last summer. It was about the role of parents teaching their children how to eat healthier. I am fascinated and applaud Jamie Oliver for his efforts to bring attention to what we are eating and trying to change what school children eat.

A Time Magazine article quotes weight-control specialist Dr. Howard Shapiro. "Kids at the age of 12 are getting adult-onset diabetes." What does not surprise me is that this problem goes beyond the food. One of the issues is the cost to keep kids healthy. Processed foods are cheaper to buy and prepare than healthier alternatives. School boards look at the bottom line, make their decisions fiscally and not always based on proper nutrition.

Fiscally driven decisions also apply to physical education. A number of my friends and family have children whose PE classes have been greatly reduced or cut entirely because of stripped budgets. Remember, good health not only includes good nutrition, but also exercise. The sedentary lifestyle wreaks havoc on the body and can encourage unhealthy eating habits.

At the end of the day it rests on the shoulders of each and every parent. Kids learn from what they see and what the parent does and it's more than what the parent says. If they see you consuming bags of chips, ice cream and sodas and opting for the couch rather than the treadmill or a walk, they will do the same. We should embrace Jamie Oliver's efforts and similarly do something for our children's future. Remember our children are the future. Do we want America to be fat and lazy or fit and lean? Lifestyle choices are important. If a child does not get a healthy start, they may have to fight psychological and physical challenges for their entire lives.

Read the full article at huffingtonpost.com.

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