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It takes 6 weeks to develop a new habit.

Food Deserts

posted by Helaine Ciporen, 8/2/11

We usually think of the US as the land of plenty, but many people are living in “food deserts” where access to healthy food is severely limited, or completely unavailable. According to Patchwork Nation, in 2006 2.4 million households were located in food deserts.

A food desert is defined as an area where households are more than a mile from a supermarket with no access to a vehicle. While only 1.5% of households in wealthy suburbs were located in food deserts, 5.9% of the homes in minority communities were in food deserts. Food deserts can be harmful to your health, especially regarding obesity and type 2 diabetes. Nationally, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data, counties with the highest percentage of households living in food deserts (10% or more) had rates of adult obesity in 2008 that were a full 9 percentage points higher than counties with the lowest percentage of households in food deserts (1% or fewer households). Similarly, high-food desert counties had rates of adult diabetes that were five points higher than low-food desert places.

Food deserts also contribute significantly to obesity among low-income preschool children. This is because the ways in which most people living in food deserts fill in the gaps in their diet is by eating out. Counties with high rates of food deserts also tend to have higher per capita expenditure at fast food restaurants. The food that you eat out is usually much more fattening and less nutritious than what you would cook at home. But if you can’t get to the market to be able to cook at home, there is a big problem. We need to fight to get more healthy food markets in more communities around the country!

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Whole Foods Scholarship Winner

posted by Helaine Ciporen 7/27/11

Thank you to everyone who expressed interest in our contest earlier this month to win a week long summer KIDS COOK cooking class at Whole Foods Markets. Our lucky winner Saqirah and her mom Kelly, talk about their experience here in this video.



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O Is For OUTRAGE Postcard Campaign

The International Diabetes Federation needs           your support for their O is for Outrage campaign. The goal is to get President Obama to show the world that he is committed to the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes at the United Nation's 2nd summit on global health issues. By writing postcards to the President, we can show him that we really want him to represent us and inspire leaders from around the world. Join us and write a postcard! Please send in your postcards before August 31st. 


It is a great idea...if you provide the address to the White House, it would help facilitate people writing in without having to look up the information.

Thank you for joining the cause! Just click on the red "write a postcard" and it will bring you to the link to submit one. Your card will make a difference! -Helaine

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Are You Fitter Than A Senior?

In June the Discovery Channel premiered a new summer show called “Are You Fitter Than A Senior?” The show pits young adults against seniors in fitness challenges. Many news articles have talked about the fact that this generation is less healthy than older ones, and this new TV show illustrates that. No news yet if shows like this will be a hit with viewers, but the fact that it was even put into production means that the childhood obesity issue in this country is starting to really take center stage. 


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Cooking Classes for Kids


Cooking classes for kids are a great way to teach healthy eating habits for life. Starting July 18th, The Bowery Culinary Center is offering one of our lucky Diabetes Families kids FREE cooking classes! The course is called "Junior Chefs," for ages 8 to 10 years old, from Monday July 18 to Friday July 22, 10am – 12:30pm valued at $350 per child (drop-off session). We will choose who will win FREE registration for this class by lottery. Parents - please email us () with your phone number and email address OR post your interest in being chosen for this course on our Facebook wall. All entries will be pooled together and one entry will be chosen at random.

This course is open for registration but only one lucky child will attend for free. The Bowery Culinary Center is a recreational cooking school within Whole Foods Market, located on the Lower East Side of New York City. They offer a wide variety of classes and lectures for home cooks of all skill levels, incorporating culinary expertise from Whole Foods Market staff and guest-chef instructors. Their “Kids Cook NYC!” initiative offers a great variety of courses that kids and parents can participate in to learn how to make healthier meals.

95 East Houston St
New York, NY 10002 


What a great opportunity! Children learning what and how to eat is a valuable tool that will benefit them their entire lives.

Just read ""... and received some very valuable information concerning the Glycemic indexes of foods. It's so important that we become "re-educated" about food as pharmacy and how to eat what's best for our bodies...and tastes good as well! Thanks for posting these links and resources.

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Mount Sinai School of Medicine Researchers Learn How Some Cells Are Turned Into Fat

posted by Helaine Ciporen 7/12/11

A new study from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine has found that a cellular signaling pathway governs the whether cells turn into fat tissue or smooth muscle. Controlling this signaling pathway, and its capacity to govern cell differentiation, has important implications in preventing obesity. This important discovery could lead to better medical help for those fighting obesity, and in turn help those with type 2 diabetes. Of course, much more research is needed, but the more we learn about how our bodies work, the more we can learn about how to stay healthy.

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New National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy

This week the Public Health Council, Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS), and others, announced the release of the new National Prevention and Health Promotion Strategy. This plan aims to help increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life. The National Prevention Strategy recognizes that good health comes not just from receiving quality medical care, but also from clean air and water, safe worksites and healthy foods.

The National Prevention Strategy includes actions that public and private partners can take to help Americans stay healthy and fit. The strategy outlines 4 strategic directions that, together, are fundamental to improving the nation’s health. Those 4 strategic directions are:

  • Building Healthy and Safe Community Environments: Prevention of disease starts in our communities and at home; not just in the doctor’s office. 
  • Expanding Quality Preventive Services in Both Clinical and Community Settings: When people receive preventive care, such as immunizations and cancer screenings, they have better health and lower health care costs. 
  • Empowering People to Make Healthy Choices: When people have access to actionable and easy-to-understand information and resources, they are empowered to make healthier choices.
  • Eliminating Health Disparities: By eliminating disparities in achieving and maintaining health, we can help improve quality of life for all Americans.

It is about time that we have have a national plan to empower families, especially those with type 2 diabetes, to take action and make healthy lifestyle changes.

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Earlier this month anti-obesity housing was unveiled in The Bronx by Blue Sea Development Company, Habitat for Humanity and New York City officials. Is this the future of how families will live a healthy lifestyle? It might be an affordable option to make sure the whole family stays on track.

This co-op apartment building, called the Melody, is designed to help combat obesity in the whole family with a backyard full of exercise equipment for adults, and climbing equipment for children. It also has a gym, two flights of stairs, and other design elements aimed at countering obesity.

The 63-unit building is for families with incomes of $90,000 or less. It includes a mix of one, two and three-bedroom co-ops. The Melody is also the first residential building in New York City to meet the City's Active Design Guidelines, which encourage physical fitness and health. It will be ready for occupancy this summer. Let's hope this trend in housing catches on!


If families had a mapping of stores within 2 - 3 miles radius of their homes that carried more of a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables...and recipes for those foods; it could help them realize that they do have choices.

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Have a healthy Father's Day this year. The best present we can give dad is a long happy life. Instead of the same old tie, try getting dad fun and inspirational health gadgets and cooking him a tasty healthy meal. 

  • Tech Gifts: For the dad who loves gadgets try getting him a new pedometer, or a walking GPS for his next stroll.
  • Cooking Gifts: Lots of dads love to grill. Grilling can be a year-round activity and cut the fat from some of your favorite foods. Try getting dad a grill pan or George Foreman Grill.
  • Sports Gifts: A new tennis racquet or baseball glove can be just the inspiration dad needs to get back out there. There are sporting goods in all price ranges so pick what would work best for your family. Maybe buy something for yourself as well, so the whole family can play.
There are a lot of creative ways to have a healthy Father's Day. Cook up a healthy meal, get outside and play, and just enjoy your time together. 

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The new food icon came out today that will replace the old 2005 food pyramid. It will be part of a comprehensive nutrition communication initiative from the USDA that provides consumers with easy-to-understand recommendations, a new website with expanded information, and other tools and resources. 

As a result of the 2010 White House Child Obesity Task Force call for simple, actionable advice to equip consumers with information to help them make healthy food choices, the USDA has come up with this new food icon. The food icon will replace the MyPyramid image as the government's primary food group symbol and will be consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 

The new food icon should be used by families living with type 2 diabetes as a daily reminder of how to eat healthy.


The Food Plate is a lot better than the pyramid, but it's still not the right model for Type 2 diabetics. Sincerely, DeWayne aka Diabetes Engineer

This diagram makes more sense and can be used by anyone regardless of language or culture. It's a wonder someone just came up with this idea; although I believe that the grains portion should be smaller and the vegetable portion should be larger.

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