Des Moines, IA - Leading food security advocates from throughout the US and Canada will meet to discuss strategies for taking advantage of the current surge in interest among policymakers and the public for healthy and local foods. The role of health care reform in driving change in the food system is just one example of a topic to be discussed at the conference.

"Sodexo is pleased to continue its sponsorship of the Community Food Security Coalition's annual conference," said Arlin Wasserman, Sodexo's vice president for sustainability & corporate social responsibility. "We are committed to fostering a more sustainable food system and this conference is an important source of dialogue on how to promote healthy and sustainable food choices."

In addition to the numerous panels and workshops, the conference seeks to "walk the talk" by minimizing food waste and serving Iowa-grown or raised products. Organizers see celebration of the gift of food?an expression of relationships between people, land, and animals - as an important element of food security.

"Obesity costs our country $147 billion per year ," said Andy Fisher, executive director of the Community Food Security Coalition. "Increasing access to healthy affordable food is an important strategy to reducing obesity and its costs to the nation. CFSC sponsors annual conferences as a tool for sharing information among community leaders who helping to build healthy farms, communities, landscapes and individuals."

Sodexo, Inc. ( is a leading integrated facilities management services company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, with $7.7 billion (USD) in annual revenue and 120,000 employees. Sodexo serves more than ten million customers daily in corporations, health care, long term care and retirement centers, schools, college campuses, government, and remote sites. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., is a member of Sodexo Group, and funds all administrative costs for the Sodexo Foundation (, an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $11 million in grants to fight hunger in America. Visit the corporate blog at


What:  the Zion Lutheran Church Blood Drive

When:  Wednesday, October 14th from 3:30 pm until 6:30 pm.

Where:  Downstairs  in the Fellowship Hall, 1216 W. 8th St, Davenport

Appointments: To donate, call Wanda McDonnell at 563-381-3893

About the Drive:  Donors who last gave blood on or before August 19, 2009 are eligible.

About Donating:  Blood donation is a safe, simple procedure that only takes about an hour.  Donors must be at least 16 years old, in good health and weigh at least 110 pounds.  A Bllood Donor coard or other photo I.D. is required to donate; 16 year old donors must present a signed parental consent form available from the Blood Center or for download from Controlled high blood pressure and diabetics are acceptable.

About MVRBC:  Mississippi Regional Blood Center is the exclusive blood provider to Unity HealthCare, Muscatine and Genesis and Trinity Medical Centers, Quad Cities.  For more information about the MVRBC, see the River Cities' Reader issue #731 (July 22, 2009).

Davenport, IA - The Alzheimer's Association is inviting Quad-City residents to become Champions in the fight against Alzheimer's by participating in the annual Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk®.  The i wireless Center will be site of the Memory Walk on October 3, 2009 at 9 am.  Pre-walk registration begins at 8am the day of the walk.

Alzheimer's disease is a growing epidemic that is now the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.  It is estimated that someone in America develops Alzheimer's disease every 70 seconds.  By mid-century someone will develop Alzheimer's disease every 33 seconds.

"There has never been a greater need for Quad-City citizens to join in the fight against Alzheimer's disease by participating in Memory Walk," said Julie Seier, an Alzheimer's Association spokesperson.  "As many as 5.3 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's disease and funds raised will provide support services to area residents in Iowa and in Illinois living with Alzheimer's, while also contributing to critically needed research."

The Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk is an empowering event that gives participants an opportunity to be Champions and take action in the fight against Alzheimer's.  In addition to the 3 mile walk participants will enjoy music provided by Jukebox Junkie, face painting, children's crafts, food, raffle prizes and vendor displays. The Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk is nationally presented by Genworth Financial.

About the Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk®:

The Alzheimer's Association Memory Walk® is the nation's largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer care, support and research programs. Held annually in hundreds of communities across the country, this inspiring event calls volunteers of all ages to become Champions in the fight against Alzheimer's.

About the Alzheimer's Association:

The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; to advocate for policy change; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. For more information visit


Nutritionists must walk a fine line between advice related to a healthy lifestyle and treatment of conditions best left to a medical professional.

More often these days, doctors and nutritionists are making that walk together, according to Paul Bogosian and Tamara White, CN, the father and daughter team who operate the Better Life Nutrition Center at 1715 15th Street Place, Moline.

This October, Mr. Bogosian will mark 30 years of offering a wide selection of natural foods, vitamins, nutritional supplements and counseling to his many customers in and beyond the Quad-City area.  From Oct. 12-17, Better Life will feature an anniversary sale giving 20 to 70 percent discounts on some products.  There also will be drawings for door prizes and product samples.

While Mr. Bogosian's interest in nutritional supplements developed during his days as a body builder, it intensified when he suffered health issues of his own.  He did not diagnose his own condition.  He left that to a medical doctor, but he knew there were nutritional supplements that could mitigate the illness from which he was suffering.

Ms. White joined her father in the business after earning her bachelor's degree and becoming a certified nutritionist.  She noted that the role of the nutritionist is not to make a diagnosis or to advise patients to substitute vitamins for the medication prescribed by their doctors.  The role of the nutritionist is to advise clients about making healthy lifestyle choices in the face of their condition.

However, Ms. White noted, she is seeing more and more clients referred to her by medical doctors who are aware of the benefits available to their patients through proper nutritional support.

"Within the last week alone," said Ms. White, "I have dealt with four clients referred to the store by doctors."  The issues involved the digestive benefits of probiotics, supplements that can contribute to a reduction in cholesterol levels and natural hormonal support for women.

Once a doctor makes a diagnosis and refers a patient to the store, Ms. White can advise patients of the best nutritional choices to meet their needs -- what foods are recognized as aggravating a given condition and what foods are recognized as easing the effects of certain conditions.  She can advise which vitamin supplements or homeopathic medicines are generally recognized as being helpful to people suffering from specific illnesses.

According to a recent article published by the Council for Responsible Nutrition, " 'Physicians and nurses are as likely as members of the general public to use dietary supplements, and most physicians and nurses recommend supplements to their patients,' says a new study published in Nutrition Journal, a peer-reviewed, on-line journal that focuses on the field of human nutrition."

Natural medicines have been in existence for thousands of years.  Some have proven themselves effective over time.  Glucosamine, for example, is generally recognized as a treatment for joint problems, but taking it does not mean a patient can stop taking the prescription for Celebrex given by a doctor.

Cinnamon, niacin, red yeast rice, sytrinol and policosanol are generally recognized as being helpful to people suffering from high cholesterol, particularly for people who have difficulty tolerating the statin drugs prescribed for high cholesterol.

People suffering from celiac disease need to avoid foods with gluten, foods often difficult to locate in a grocery store.  At Better Life, Mr. Bogosian and Ms. White can assist clients in finding healthy foods that will not aggravate such conditions.

Other conditions for which homeopathic and herbal treatments can be beneficial include high blood pressure, prostate problems, hormonal balance, depression and anxiety, pain and inflammation and natural male enhancement.  For people who suffer from lactose intolerance and cannot drink cow's milk, Better Life has rice milk and almond milk.

Most doctors, dietitians, and nutritionists will tell patients that eating a healthy diet will provide all the vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy life, but getting the right foods, in the right amounts, prepared in the proper manner to maintain the nutritional content is not easy, and some people don't have the time or desire to devote to the careful planning and preparation of nutritionally beneficial foods.  That is another area in which vitamin supplementation can be helpful.

According to recent reports, many Americans, due to their sedentary lifestyles inside their homes, are lacking in sufficient amounts of vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin.  Too many adults and children are inside working or playing on a computer or watching television instead of being outside soaking up vitamin D from the sun, and too many children drink soda instead of milk, which is another valuable source of vitamin D.

According to Ms. White, other generally recognized deficiencies in the American diet involve food processing.  "Many foods are over processed," said Ms. White, and, because of the processing, the foods may be robbed of important enzymes that influence the metabolism of nutrients.  Enzymes, for example, are required to break down protein to make it available for use in the body.  Other foods, she said, may lack nutrients because they were grown in depleted soils.

For people experiencing vitamin deficiencies, vitamin supplementation can provide the nutritional support they are not getting as a result of their lifestyles or eating habits.  Yes, the vitamins are available through proper diet, but it is clear many people in the United States do not follow a proper diet.  People may fail to eat a proper balance of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

Most often, said Ms. White, people tend to eat too many carbohydrates, which can lead to weight gain.  She said soda drinks leech minerals from the body.

Nutritional supplements will not cure obesity.  Only diet and exercise can accomplish that, but some supplements may complement those efforts.  Natural sweeteners that can substitute for sugar include stevia, xylitol and erythritol.  The supplements Lipotrim and Super Citrimax can help reduce carbohydrate and sugar cravings

Athletes who are pushing their bodies to extremes also need additional dietary support.  For most, a good protein supplement will give them the boost they need, but protein can be overdone.  Too much protein puts additional strain on the liver and kidneys.

This is another area in which Ms. White can be helpful.  How much protein does an athlete require?  Ms. White can provide the counseling to assist athletes in reaching their goals without wasting their money or overtaxing their digestive systems.

Ms. White said the current recommended daily allowance for protein is .36 grams per pound of body weight.  An athlete following a rigorous workout program may require as much as one gram of protein per pound.  Whey protein is one of the easiest to absorb, said Ms. White, and egg-white protein works well.  She is cautious about soy protein, which can be difficult for some people to digest and can affect hormone balance.

She said an average six-ounce steak provides 20 to 30 grams of protein.  Eggs offer six to seven grams of protein per egg, and a serving of nuts may contain four to eight grams of protein, depending on the type of nut.

To assist Ms. White in making recommendations for her clients, she employs such diagnostic tools as hair analysis.  The analysis can identify levels of minerals and heavy metals in the tissue.  Mineral levels, said Ms. White, are indicators of how organs are functioning in the body.

"It also tells you how the body is metabolizing things," according to Ms. White.  The analysis, she said, is performed by Analytical Research Labs in Arizona and can indicate which foods are not digesting or metabolizing properly.  Based on those results, Ms. White can make recommendations to balance out the problems.

Before Ms. White makes her recommendations, she has a variety of resources she can use to identify any possible conflicts between doctor prescribed medications and nutritional supplements.  People on blood thinners, for example, have a number of supplements they should avoid, such as vitamin K.

Mr. Bogosian said one of the features of Better Life Nutrition that keeps his customers coming back is the store's service-oriented philosophy.  "We special order, ship worldwide, continually bring in new products and take special training and classes on the products," according to Mr. Bogosian.

Mr. Bogosian also noted that contrary to comments by critics of the supplement industry, products carried in the store are held to high standards of quality.  NOW, one of the largest of the supplement manufacturers, belongs to several organizations that monitor industry standards for the production of nutritional supplements.

Nutritionists, especially those operating commercial businesses that sell nutritional supplements, must be careful in the way they handle clients.  There are certainly items within the walls of Better Life Nutrition Center that can be helpful to people, and some of those same items are not appropriate for everyone.

The training and the experience of the staff at Better Life can lead people to make wiser choices about the foods they eat and the supplements they take.


Iowa was recognized for its strong commitment to children's health coverage despite a tough economic climate, according to a report released today by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families (CCF).

Weathering the Storm: States Moving Forward Despite Tough Economic Climate identified Iowa as one of twenty-three states that expanded health coverage for children in 2009.  Iowa was the first state to take advantage of opportunities presented in the Child Health Insurance Reform Act (CHIPRA) of 2009 to develop a dental option for children and to extend coverage to all income-qualifying legal resident children.

"Iowa leaders stood up for the most vulnerable members of our community - our children - during this fiscal crisis by expanding access to affordable children's health coverage," said Carrie Fitzgerald, Senior Health Policy Associate of the Child and Family Policy Center in Des Moines.  "Iowa expanded eligibility for hawk-i coverage to families up to 300% of poverty and adopted streamlined provisions for enrollment and re-enrollment that will help ensure children receive continuous health care coverage."

Nationwide, strong state and federal support for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has reduced the number of uninsured children to its lowest levels since 1987. The report found that  states have taken advantage of the passage of CHIPRA and other federal support to secure additional funds and strengthen their efforts to cover more children.

"Weathering the Storm' is important in showing Iowa's leadership in child health coverage, but there still are uninsured children in the state," Charles Bruner, Director of the Child and Family Policy Center, stated.  "Iowa must continue its implementation efforts and activities to ensure all children receive the health care they need for healthy development.  Children's healthy development is key to Iowa's future and to containing health care expenditures over the long term."

For more information on the report, Weathering the Storm: States Moving Forward Despite Tough Economic Climate, visit CCF's website

Cites Progress in Anti-Meth Efforts and Importance of Cooperation Among Law Enforcement, Prevention, and Treatment to Continue the Fight

(St. Louis, MO)?The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy Director, Gil Kerlikowske, today unveiled a new anti-methamphetamine (meth) ad campaign launched in Missouri and across the country, with particular focus on 16 States where meth prevalence, and lab seizures and incidents, are high.  Director Kerlikowske was joined by U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan (MO-03), Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, and Colonel James Keathley, Superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

"Despite the overall decline in meth usage across the country, we still have work to do," said Kerlikowske.  "This drug leaves a path of destruction that affects individuals, families and entire communities.  Only by working together, can we rid the Nation of this insidious drug.  This campaign complements the hard work done on a daily basis by members of law enforcement and the drug prevention and treatment communities to prevent meth use and encourage those affected by meth to understand that recovery from meth addiction is possible."

The Anti-Meth Campaign, in its third year of coordination by ONDCP's National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, includes new advertising for TV, radio, print, Internet, billboards, and gas pumps. Using a "tiered" media approach, the Campaign ensures that all states receive a level of paid media support, with proportionally more media spending in 16 States with higher meth prevalence rates, based on national survey data, as well as a small group of Midwest States where meth lab seizures and incidents tend to be high. The new TV, radio, print, Internet, and out-of-home ads will run from September to November 2009 in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Nebraska.  Additionally, radio ads and Internet search ads will run nationwide during the same time period.

The ads' messages focus on meth use prevention, as well as provide information for meth users and their families who are seeking recovery services.  The primary target audience for the Anti-Meth Campaign is young adults, ages 18 to 34, whose meth use tends to be highest across the country. The new advertisements were created by Publicis & Hal Riney in San Francisco, the pro bono advertising agency, in coordination with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.  In early 2010, the television ads will be available as free public service announcements (PSAs) for non-profits, State, and local government offices to customize and use in their own communities.  

"Our communities have been fighting this problem for years, and we've learned that the key to victory is a comprehensive program of prevention, education, remediation and wraparound treatment," said U.S. Representative Russ Carnahan (MO-03).  "The additional resources this new campaign is bringing into our state can only help bring us one step closer to winning the war against meth."

"In Missouri, members of law enforcement, criminal justice, drug prevention and treatment communities have been working diligently on the meth problem," said Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.  "But our work continues, and we still have further to go to ensure that our citizens are safe from meth.  This campaign supports our work in law enforcement - and the work of our many community partners in drug prevention and treatment."

"We are pleased to welcome Director Kerlikowske and the dedicated representatives of St. Louis and Missouri law enforcement and criminal justice, drug prevention and treatment to launch this important ad campaign here in St. Louis," said St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. "Meth is certainly a critical community problem, not just for the individuals who use it, but for the family, friends, and people working every day to fight the terrible scourge of methamphetamine."

According to the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than five percent of Americans age 12 and older have tried methamphetamine at least once in their lifetimes.  In 2007, there were an estimated 529,000 current users of methamphetamine aged 12 or older.  Missouri leads the Nation in reported meth lab seizures and incidents, according to recent data from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Josh, a Dunklin County, Missouri resident, is featured in the campaign's open letter print ad.  The ad tells the story of Josh's meth initiation at age 17, which led to addiction, the loss of his job and house, and the trust of his family. Through a treatment program mandated through the Dunklin County Drug Court, administered by the Honorable Phillip Britt, Josh has fully recovered and now works as a junior drug counselor at an area treatment facility.  Both Josh and Judge Britt, now Drug Court Commissioner of the 35th Judicial Circuit of Missouri, spoke at the press conference.

"We know that a comprehensive, community approach to fighting meth is vitally important, and this includes the message that recovery is possible," said Kerlikowske.  "Josh's story illustrates that message and provides the real potential for hope to families struggling with the many effects of this devastating drug."

Meth is an addictive stimulant drug that can be taken orally, injected, snorted, or smoked. Often called "speed" or "ice," meth is available as a crystal-like powdered substance or in large rock-like chunks.  Meth users are prone to violence and neglectful behavior that can affect their children and neighbors.  The chemicals used in meth production are flammable and highly toxic, posing a threat to both the environment and residents.

For more information about the Anti-Meth Campaign, to view advertising and other resources, and to learn about how to order free PSAs, visit

Since its inception in 1998, the ONDCP's National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign has conducted outreach to millions of parents, teens, and communities to prevent and reduce teen drug use.  Counting on an unprecedented blend of public and private partnerships, non-profit community service organizations, volunteerism, and youth-to-youth communications, the Campaign is designed to reach Americans of diverse backgrounds with effective anti-drug messages.

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Alliance for a Healthier Generation's Go Healthy Month Inspires Kids to Take a Stand Against Childhood Obesity

(IOWA) Sept. 1, 2009 - The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, is empowering youth to join the fight against childhood obesity and to celebrate September's Go Healthy Month.

Focusing efforts on preventing childhood obesity and creating healthier lifestyles for all children, the Alliance has designated the month of September as Go Healthy Month. Our empowerME movement - more than one million strong - will reach out this month to expand and inspire even more tweens and teens to eat better, move more and wipe out America's obesity epidemic. Tweens and teens are asked to join the empowerME movement and become leaders and advocates for healthy eating and physical activity in their communities. Through empowerME, healthy lifestyles become "cool" for tweens and teens.

"America's kids are facing unprecedented rates of obesity. By joining together to fight this epidemic, they are inspiring each other to live healthier," said Ginny Ehrlich, executive director of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. "Through Go Healthy Month and the empowerME Movement we hope to empower kids to make better choices now, to ensure an impact on their health and quality of life in the future."

"Go Healthy Month is the perfect time for us kids to make a commitment to be healthy," said David Sanchez, 17, Racine, Wisc., a member of the empowerME Movement's Youth Advisory Board. "By attending a Go Healthy Month event, joining the empowerME Movement and sharing our stories, we can motivate each other to make sure our generation will live longer, healthier lives."

To teach kids the basics of healthy eating and living active lifestyles, the Alliance also created a FREE, 8-session healthy living course - empowerME4Life. The course is age-appropriate, culturally relevant, targeted to kids ages 8-12; and can be facilitated by older youth or adult allies. When young people learn to make small changes in what they eat and how active they are, they can make a big difference in their health over time.

Youth are encouraged to visit to learn more about joining the empowerME Movement and the FREE EmowerME4Life program.

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In this challenging economy, many people have curbed discretionary expenses like vacations, entertainment and shopping excursions. Unfortunately, many folks - even those with medical insurance - are also cutting back on healthcare services they can no longer afford, including preventive care, check-ups and medications for chronic conditions.

This short-term budgetary fix could have disastrous long-term effects, as easily treated or preventable conditions morph into much more serious - and expensive - illnesses.

While our government wrestles with solving the national healthcare crisis, here are a few suggestions for stretching your healthcare dollars and ensuring your family receives proper care:

Use your plan wisely. Most health insurers supply educational materials on preventive care such as quitting smoking, weight loss and chronic disease management (like diabetes and high cholesterol). Many even provide financial incentives for completing treatment programs, getting immunizations and using generic drugs, since these practices save money in the long run.

Check your carrier's website for details, or visit the HHS's "Prevention" site ( for information and web links on such topics as fitness, nutrition, risky behavior modification and much more.

Free screenings. Many pharmacies, clinics and health organizations such the National Kidney Foundation ( and the American Academy of Dermatology ( provide free screenings for illnesses such as kidney disease, skin cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Search "free screenings" at for nearby screenings.

Bargain with providers. Before going without needed care, speak to your doctor, dentist or hospital about your financial difficulties and see if they'll work with you to reduce fees or allow installment payments. They may also be able to suggest alternate treatments or connect you with programs that will help pay for your care.

For example, most pharmaceutical companies offer patient assistance programs (PAPs) that provide uninsured and low-income people access to drugs they couldn't otherwise afford. Ask your doctor, pharmacist or clinic how to proceed, or visit Partnership for Prescription Assistance (, which has enrollment information on over 475 public and private PAPs, including links to Medicaid programs.

Laid off? File for COBRA. Under the 2009 economic stimulus plan, the government will pay 65 percent of the cost of COBRA coverage for up to nine months for employees laid off between September 1, 2008, and December 31, 2009. Granted, coverage is still expensive, but far less so than if you were uninsured and incurred a serious accident or illness.

Use public resources. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) helps fund over 7,000 community health centers serving millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans. Patients pay based on what they can afford for services such as routine checkups, maternity care, immunizations, prescription drugs, and dental, mental health and substance abuse care.

To learn more about this program and find the closest HHS-supported center, visit In addition, many university teaching hospitals and dental schools operate clinics on a sliding payment scale.

Medicaid. Many uninsured people not yet eligible for Medicare can obtain medical coverage through state-administered Medicaid programs. To learn more, visit

Don't let financial worries cause you to ignore your family's health needs. Resources are available; you just need to seek them out.

July 24, 2009 - The Alzheimer's Association, Greater Iowa Chapter will host a special screening and discussion of HBO's "Grandpa, Do You Know Who I Am?" and "The Caregivers" in an attempt to encourage individuals to learn more about communication strategies and emotional responses to the disease.

The Alzheimer's Association program on August 4 at 11:30 a.m. begins with a special screenings of "Grandpa, Do You Know Who I Am?" and "Caregivers", followed by a panel discussion. The event is being held at Senior Star at Elmore Place, 4502 Elmore Place in Davenport and is free and open to the public.  A brown bag lunch will be included.  The screenings will be repeated on August 6 at 5:30 pm.  Registration is requested; please call the Association at 563-324-1022.

The Alzheimer's Project is HBO's 4-part, multi-platform series that brings new understanding and hope for millions and reveals human faces behind the disease. The two films each explore a different facet of Alzheimer's:

· Grandpa, Do You Know Who I Am? Geared towards children and young teens coping with a grandparent's illness, this film presents vignettes that can help a child understand and deal with a relative's gradual decline into Alzheimer's. Maria Shriver, whose father was diagnosed with the disease, provides commentary and guidance through five insightful lessons.

· Caregivers A collection of five family portraits that illustrate caring for those in different stages of Alzheimer's disease. Each highlights the sacrifices, struggles, and successes made by those experiencing their loved ones' descent into dementia.

The purpose of the event is to encourage discussion about Alzheimer's within families.  Parents are encouraged to view "Grandpa, Do You Know Who I Am" with their children or may view the "Caregivers" at the same time and join their children for a group discussion following the screenings.

The Alzheimer's Association

The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's. For more information, visit

Senior Star at Elmore Place Features a memory care with six different floor plans andunits ranging in size from 224 square feet to 343 square feet. Each room has a private half bath, while multiple shower and spa retreats are located through the building.  Senior Star at Elmore Place incorporates progressive and innovative approaches to memory care, including life skills stations, destination programming and Snoezelen rooms which promote soothing, sensory experiences. Senior Star at Elmore Place is owned by Senior Star Living, based in Tulsa, Okla. Senior Star Living is a private company founded in 1976 and entered the seniors housing business in 1989. Its portfolio currently includes nine retirement communities in six states. As a recognized leader in the seniors housing industry, the company provides independent, assisted living and memory care options.  Additional information is available on the Web site,

MADISON, Wis. - When diabetes educator Eva Marie Vivian sees overweight minority children, she sees a generational tragedy unfolding.

Type 2 diabetes was virtually unheard of in children a generation ago, but now as many as 3,700 young people were newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in a single year ? a diagnosis much more common among Native American, Hispanic or African American children. At current rates, it is estimated that one in three children born in the year 2000 will eventually develop diabetes. And it's not just the diabetes -- cardiovascular disease, kidney and eye damage, and other complications can follow uncontrolled diabetes.

"A 12-year-old with Type 2 diabetes may develop coronary artery disease by age 35,'' said Vivian, associate clinical professor in the University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy. "We're talking about a generation of children that might not outlive their parents."

Vivian says that some heavily Hispanic zip codes in Los Angeles have rates of childhood obesity approaching 90 percent. And her recent research in Madison, Wis., shows that things aren't much better in the Midwest. She recently screened 86 children (63 percent African-American, 34 percent Latino, 3 percent white) in community settings such as churches and food pantries. She found that 54 percent were overweight or obese, conditions that can set them up for developing Type 2 diabetes, in which the body becomes resistant to insulin.

"While more than half of the children were overweight, it's interesting that only 10 percent of parents reported that they thought their children were overweight,' Vivian said. "It may be because many of the parents are overweight themselves."

So, is this merely a case of children inheriting bad genes? No.

"Genes may load the gun, but your environment and lifestyle pull the trigger,'' Vivian said.

As part of her screening, she queried parents about the factors causing children to gain weight. What she learned is startling:

  • · About 31 percent of the children consume fast food more than twice a week
  • · 86 percent watch more than two hours of television.
  • · Among the obese and overweight children, television watching was more than three hours a day.
  • · The parents themselves reported being too busy with work to prepare home-cooked meals.

Vivian's research is aimed at identifying factors that people can change to lose weight and reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Her work is funded by the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR), part of a national effort to get medical research more quickly from the laboratories into the community.

She has just received a second grant to create a community-based intervention program that will go into the neighborhood centers with programs for children and parents. While the children would be in exercise classes led by trained instructors from the UW School of Kinesiology and formerly overweight teenagers who have successfully changed their own lifestyles, parents would be learning about healthy shopping, cooking and family lifestyle changes.

"One problem is that some parents also eat unhealthy foods, and the children follow their parents,'' Vivian said. "The good news is that when you ask adults to change their lifestyle, they're more likely to be receptive if it involves helping their children."

Is Your Child At Risk For Diabetes?

1. Is your children African-American/black, Latino/Hispanic, Native American or Asian/Pacific Islander?

2. Does your child have a sister or brother with diabetes?

3. Does your child have a parent or grandparent with diabetes?

4. Has a health care provider told you your child is overweight or do you feel your child is overweight?

5. Does your child (between ages 10 and 19) get little or no exercise?

6. Does your child have a dark skin patch around the neck or in the armpits?

7. Has a doctor said your child has high blood pressure?

8. Has a doctor said your child has high cholesterol?

9. Has your daughter had irregular periods, excess facial hair or unusual weight gain?

If you answered yes to two or more questions, your child may be at risk for having or developing diabetes. You should talk to a health care provider.