The US ranks at the bottom of 17 developed nations in its overall health, despite spending over twice as much per person, partly because of junk food and the obesity epidemic which some attribute to the impact of widespread use of GMO foods.[i] For example, over half of the food sold in Wal-Mart‘s 1,000 plus stores in 27 countries has “unacceptable ingredients” that Whole Foods would not allow in their stores.[ii] Even its “100% whole wheat bread” has a long list of unpronounceable chemicals. Yet Trump’s Secretary of Agriculture overturned Obama Administration guidelines for healthy school lunches because kids are picky eaters and it’s better for them to eat high salt, high sugar, and low-whole-wheat grain than not eat at all. Secretary Sonny Perdue said he wanted to make school lunches great again. In contrast, students in France are served a free gourmet four-course hour-long lunch at school so they learn how to eat healthy foods. When filmmaker Michael Moore offered the children a Coke they were not interested and grossed out by photos of school lunches in the US, shown in his documentary Where to Invade Next (2015).
[i] Ellen Brown, “Monsanto, the TPP, and Global Food Dominance,” Global Research, November 26, 2013.
[ii] Christina Sarich, “Dangerous Ingredients,” Natural Society, February 22, 2014.
Tune in this Thursday at 6, KZFR Chico, 90.1, livestreamed. Here’s a preview of our discussion of resilience:
1. Rochelle and Kathy: Young people today are criticized for lacking resilience or grit, being “fragile tea cups.” Is this a real problem? Please define resilience.
2. Amasha and PV student: Tell us about your most difficult challenges and how you overcame them.
3. Are schools doing what they can to assist students with non-academic challenges?
4. Katy, as a parent of three what do you do to help your kid cope with their challenges?
5. Do you think hardships have a cosmic purpose to help us grow or are they just bad luck?
Margaret, 23, tells how she thrived with her challenges:
I have dyslexia, ADHD, and anxiety. I had a really difficult time finding the right medication and for a long time, I simply felt stupid. I couldn’t retain information in class or when I was studying. It was incredibly frustrating growing up and feeling as if I couldn’t be successful, not matter how hard I tried. I had to develop skills to cope with my lack of focus. When I finally found a medication that worked for me and had developed the beginning of what would become my meditation, mindfulness, and yoga practices, it was if everything fell into place.
I really excelled in college. I graduated Cum Laude, was a member of the English Honor Society, was the editor-in-chief of Colonnades Literary and Arts and the president of the meditation society. I
I rewrote all my notes from class, I often recorded lectures. I studied a lot and meditated and ran often as a way to maintain focus. I realized half way through college that I worked best in the mornings and while sometimes I work well late at night I have the most energy to combat the ADHD at the start of the day. I developed a morning routine and started spacing out my assignments. Some of my anxiety centers around starting and finishing tasks. I love to run and practice yoga so I found ways to incorporate those practices into my day. For instance, on a stressful day, I would bike home around lunch, go for a run, bike back to school, and eat before my next class. I found it was really helpful to hit the reset button whenever I could to help myself refocus instead of being afraid to take a break because I might lose my train of thought. It is as much about self-discipline as it is about believing you are capable. You cannot have one without the other.
As a recent college graduate, and having relocated across the country, I am finding that one must retain these skills and practices outside of the classroom to continue to be successful and also keep from burning out, or stopping productivity altogether. These skills are as important in an academic environment as they are in the post-graduate world.”
A 2016 UNICEF “Clear the Air” report said air pollution kills about 600,000 children under age five each year and contributes to respiratory problems like asthma impacts the development of children’s lungs; the problem is getting in low-income areas and nations.[i] Over one billion children live in homes were solid fuels are used in cooking and heating. The report concludes that reducing air pollution is one of the most important steps we can take for children.
“Clear the Air for Children,” UNICEF, October 201.
[i] “Clear the Air for Children,” UNICEF, October 201.
An international t sleep study conducted by Boston College in more than 50 countries, found that 57% of secondary student needed more sleep.[i] The most sleep-deprived students were in descending order: the US (73% sleep deprived), New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Turkey, England, Childe, Ireland, and Finland. The researchers found that a correlation between higher test scores and getting more sleep, as well as good nutrition. A Stanford Medicine News article reported that sleep depravation among US teens is an epidemic and it can lead to anxiety, depression, and inability to concentrate.[ii] Citing a 2011 sleep poll that included diverse ethnic groups, high school senior sleep an average of 6.9 hours a night, down from an average of 8.4 hours in the sixth grade. A Gallup poll of average hours of sleep found 46% of young people ages 18 to 29 slept less than six hours and 51% felt they would feel better if they slept more. [iii] South Korean students are even more deprived, sleeping only 4.9 hours a night. (In a study of international sleep patterns of adult, the Chinese got the most sleep and the Japanese the least.[iv])
[i] Sean Coughlan, “Lack of Sleep Blights Pupils’ Education, BBC News, May 8, 2013.
[ii] Ruthann Richter, “Among Teens, Sleep Deprivation an Epidemic,” Stanford Medicine News Center, October 8, 2015.
[iii] by Jeffrey M. Jones, “In U.S., 40% Get Less Than Recommended Amount of Sleep, Gallup.com, December 19, 2013.
[iv] “How long is the Average Night’s Sleep Around the World?,” Huffington Post, August 24, 2013.