January 2013: 2012 in Review

Happy New Year to Healthy Kids Ideas Exchange Readers!  This month we are going to take a quick look back on the year 2012.  I’m going to share with you my top three kids health and wellness related stories.  I will tell you that picking only three highlights was the hardest part of my job this month.  A lot has been happening in the realm of children’s nutrition and wellness, and that is great news!  There are so many fantastic ambassadors of health out there working on behalf of our children, from Jamie Oliver to Alice Waters to Michelle Obama to Chef Ann Cooper and many others.  Organizations such as Healthy Schools Campaign,  Action for Healthy Kids and government movements such as Let’s Move! have all contributed significantly to the level of awareness and action being taken to make our nation healthier.  So these top three picks are simply a reflection of some of the stories/issues that may have caught my eye in particular;  I thought sharing them with you would be fun.   So stay tuned and enjoy this month’s newsletter!

Top Pick #1:  The Real Bears Take Aim at the Soda Industry

In October 2012, the Center for Science in the Public Interest launched an internet based music video called “The Real Bears” (it was later called “the video that Coca-Cola does not want you to see” by USA Today).  The video features an original –and I might say catchy and cheerful– song by Jason Mraz; yet the story line isn’t cheerful at all.  It shows the fate of a cartoon polar bear family that drinks soda day and night, urged on by TV ad campaigns showing the soda and proclaiming “Be Happy Dammit!”.  The polar bears end up with all kinds of nutritionally related diseases, depicted somewhat graphically, including diabetes, obesity, tooth decay and even erectile dysfunction.   (This is where the video creeps into the territory of, “can I show it to a child or not?”—please use caution and your own judgment here!).  In my own experience with my 9-year old, this section went “over his head”.  However, having the teeth coming out and the pants splitting the seams were things a kid could relate to.  What is really interesting about this video is that it takes a simple approach to point the finger at an industry where Coca-Cola alone spends $2 billion a year on advertising to convince Americans to buy its sugary drinks.  That sum includes not only the cost of ads, but also the enormous amounts of money that the company doles out to fast-food restaurants to sell only Coke products, to supermarkets to display Coke products, and to health and civic organizations to not criticize soft drinks.  So I was happy to see a rebuke, even if on a much smaller scale through this music video. I hope you enjoy it.  At the time of posting, there were close to 2 million views:

As I mentioned above, one of the parts that my kids and I could most easily relate to was tooth decay. In case you missed this before, we did an experiment in my third grader’s class this year (February) where we put a white, healthy dog tooth in a coca-cola/fruit juice mixture for one week. This is what it looked like after seven days. Yuck!




Maybe you are ready to put that cola away –what a great New Year’s resolution for 2013!

Top Pick #2:  The Healthy Kids Lunchtime Challenge

Ok, so maybe I’m a little biased on this pick (since my daughter’s entry won, and we got to go to the White House to meet Mrs. and President Obama), but this contest was a fantastic idea to get kids in the kitchen and empowered to make their own choices for healthy lunches.  I have written about the state of school lunches in the past, notably the March 2012 “Grade Your Lunch Article” as well as the February 2009 Lunch Makeover Article.  But the Healthy Kids Lunchtime Challenge, facilitated by Epicurious, was really a marquis level event that dominated the press for weeks and even months after the event.  My favorite output from this event is a free, downloadable cookbook that will hopefully get your kids inspired to plan out and help prepare some healthy lunches.  Maybe you can even pass the cookbook along to your food service provider at your school and encourage your school to highlight a recipe and state each week.  Have fun with it!  Click here to download the Epicurious Cookbook!


Top Pick #3:  Finally, Good News on the Childhood Obesity Rate!


This news hit the press wires just as the holiday season was arriving.  A front page New York Time article announced  “Obesity in Young Is Seen as Falling in Several Cities.” As Dr. Thomas Farley, the health commissioner in New York City, reminded, “It’s been nothing but bad news for 30 years, so the fact that we have any good news is a big story.”  The article reported a 5.5 percent decline in the number of obese schoolchildren from 2007 to 2011.

You can watch a brief TV news segment, also, on the same story announcing a decline in childhood obesity rates across the nation (December 11, 2012).

This kind of news makes all of the hard work for healthier schools and a healthier environment worth it. Soda has been kicked out of many schools, and school lunch providers are hard at work revising menus. Lots of great momentum and Healthy Kids Ideas Exchange is honored to be part of it. Thanks so much for reading! Have a wonderful start to a new year.


If you like our website, please help others to find out about it.  If you have a blog or website, or know someone who does, please consider linking to Healthy Kids Ideas Exchange.  Invite friends to join the newsletter distribution list, add us to your Facebook and Twitter or Pin Us on Pinterest.

Don’t forget to check out the recent posts on the Delicious and Nutritious, Green and Plenty and Wholesome Heart Blogs!

Delicious and Nutritious recipes are kid tested and range from breakfast to snacks.  We occasionally include a dessert as well –which we know is probably more delicious than it is nutritious, but we feel that people need a sweet treat here and there.  We hope you are inspired by our ideas!

Green and Plenty:  presents the latest in nutrition, delicious and seasonal recipes, green design and wellness tips for the reader and her family.

Wholesome Heart:  includes delicious recipes, time-saving tips, and nutrition tidbits.


This column is for information only, and no part of its contents should be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, recommendation or endorsement by the author. You should always ask your physician for his or her recommendation before starting any new health-related activity.

Speak Your Mind


Share This Post!