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Thread: A Simple Way to Improve Education, Cut Obesity and Prevent Crime

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    A Simple Way to Improve Education, Cut Obesity and Prevent Crime

    In my personal life, I do a bit of volunteering. One of the programs I volunteer with is aimed at public schools. The goal is to convince public schools and districts to take on a micro-farming program, and dedicate adequate resources to it. It can be quite difficult, as people don't really understand the benefits, but every time we get this program established in a new school, six months later, the parents and the teachers and the kids are amazed at the difference in behaviour, diets and attitudes towards food. A couple of schools in the program are even working with one another to specialize in crops, which they trade with one another, so that they can grow more and offset their food costs even more.

    In a nut shell, this is the program: every school buys and builds a greenhouse, and creates a community garden. This garden is used to provide fresh vegetables all year round. The students are directly responsible for planting, maintaining and caring for the plants. Each grade is typically responsible for various aspects of the garden, with the responsibilities becoming more demanding and skill-intensive the older they get. For instance, when it comes to harvest time, the little ones will go out and pick the vegetables. Whereas the older grades will be researching nutritional requirements, mixing up organic additives, setting temperatures, and fixing equipment, all year round. People who are interested more in cooking than in farming are put into special groups which make meals out of the produce, and work with the school to develop nutritious meal plans. To keep things interesting, and make the students well-rounded, students are shifted among various responsibilities throughout the year.

    The impact has been incredible. Kids who had trouble paying attention are doing much better, because they are getting real food with the nutrients they need, rather than processed junk that is high in sodium and sugar and everything else. Kids with weight problems are seeing a drastic decrease, because they are being taught how to make healthy food that actually tastes good. Even kids who are violent and disruptive see some benefit - not only because they weren't getting what they need nutritionally at home, but because it is a socialization process, and it requires alot of hard work and physical activity - this tends to make kids behave better because they aren't simply cooped up in a classroom, but instead are being active without any sense of competition.

    There are other benefits as well - this teaches work ethic and a sense of responsibility and community. Even the most skeptical kid doesn't like it when the plants they are responsible for die. Obviously there are always going to be kids who get no benefit out of this whatsoever, but that is true of school in general, and they are the exception rather than the rule.

    This concept needs to be implemented nation-wide, in my opinion. We could even fund it through donations - it really doesn't cost that much once you have the greenhouses built. And the impact would be much larger than simply providing cheap produce to kids. Educational outcomes will improve, which makes them more competitive for the workplace. Doing better economically will reduce crime and violence. And teaching people to eat vegetables will reduce their meat consumption, which will decrease heart attacks, address climate change, and more. It is a small change that would have broad effects.

    Take a look at this WHO article about nutritional programs:

    http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/87/1/08-059519/en/

    ...

    ...

    Their underlying rationale is that diseases that affect education are highly prevalent. Infants, pre-school and schoolchildren face many health challenges, such as pneumonia, malaria, measles, micro- and macronutrient deficiencies. Because these young children frequently suffer one or several of these problems concurrently, health and nutritional programmes focusing on this age group are extremely valid. Many of these diseases and deficiencies are preventable and, among the schoolchildren who bear the greatest burden, the most vulnerable ones are the poor.


    The authors present the aggregated evidence of the various ways in which poor health and nutrition can affect children’s access to education, such as delaying enrolment, increasing absenteeism and precipitating drop-out. They argue that school-based programmes are particularly good examples of effective interventions that tackle education and health at the same time. But it’s not only during this phase that young children will benefit, good nutrition in pregnancy and infancy benefits health throughout the lifecycle.


    Developing this idea further, the authors consider the effects of health and nutrition on behaviour and cognitive function. They present supporting evidence to show that a critical period for the educational benefits of good nutrition does not exist. Hence interventions must not just focus on a narrow age group: health and nutrition programmes are effective in improving education throughout life – even if the childhood period is the most effective one for many reasons. For example, a sick child who receives insufficient or nutrient-poor food will score lower in his or her educational achievement. Given that many schoolchildren suffer from nutritional deficiencies and infectious diseases, multiple micronutrient supplementation could be a promising school health and nutrition intervention.


    ...

    ...
    (Edited for copyright compliance.)
    Last edited by Chris; 09-29-2016 at 03:35 PM.

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    I think placing more emphasis on agriculture is a great way for western societies to solve a wide range of problems they're facing, so I would be supportive of localized efforts to promote these kinds of programs.

    I would go so far as to say that Jeffersonian, agrarian democracy is the key to liberating humanity, but I'll leave that discussion for another day.
    Two things awe me most, the starry sky above me and the moral law within me.
    --Immanuel Kant

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    Quote Originally Posted by exploited View Post
    In my personal life, I do a bit of volunteering. One of the programs I volunteer with is aimed at public schools. The goal is to convince public schools and districts to take on a micro-farming program, and dedicate adequate resources to it. It can be quite difficult, as people don't really understand the benefits, but every time we get this program established in a new school, six months later, the parents and the teachers and the kids are amazed at the difference in behaviour, diets and attitudes towards food. A couple of schools in the program are even working with one another to specialize in crops, which they trade with one another, so that they can grow more and offset their food costs even more.

    In a nut shell, this is the program: every school buys and builds a greenhouse, and creates a community garden. This garden is used to provide fresh vegetables all year round. The students are directly responsible for planting, maintaining and caring for the plants. Each grade is typically responsible for various aspects of the garden, with the responsibilities becoming more demanding and skill-intensive the older they get. For instance, when it comes to harvest time, the little ones will go out and pick the vegetables. Whereas the older grades will be researching nutritional requirements, mixing up organic additives, setting temperatures, and fixing equipment, all year round. People who are interested more in cooking than in farming are put into special groups which make meals out of the produce, and work with the school to develop nutritious meal plans. To keep things interesting, and make the students well-rounded, students are shifted among various responsibilities throughout the year.

    The impact has been incredible. Kids who had trouble paying attention are doing much better, because they are getting real food with the nutrients they need, rather than processed junk that is high in sodium and sugar and everything else. Kids with weight problems are seeing a drastic decrease, because they are being taught how to make healthy food that actually tastes good. Even kids who are violent and disruptive see some benefit - not only because they weren't getting what they need nutritionally at home, but because it is a socialization process, and it requires alot of hard work and physical activity - this tends to make kids behave better because they aren't simply cooped up in a classroom, but instead are being active without any sense of competition.

    There are other benefits as well - this teaches work ethic and a sense of responsibility and community. Even the most skeptical kid doesn't like it when the plants they are responsible for die. Obviously there are always going to be kids who get no benefit out of this whatsoever, but that is true of school in general, and they are the exception rather than the rule.

    This concept needs to be implemented nation-wide, in my opinion. We could even fund it through donations - it really doesn't cost that much once you have the greenhouses built. And the impact would be much larger than simply providing cheap produce to kids. Educational outcomes will improve, which makes them more competitive for the workplace. Doing better economically will reduce crime and violence. And teaching people to eat vegetables will reduce their meat consumption, which will decrease heart attacks, address climate change, and more. It is a small change that would have broad effects.

    Take a look at this WHO article about nutritional programs:

    http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/87/1/08-059519/en/
    I'm all for the kids growing some food. This generation is way too disconnected from the earth. Trying to live completely apart from and essenially without knowledge of, much less participation in their own food chain.

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    I'm all for encouraging the children to get out and work up a sweat, as well as eat better. I think we should get back to morning pre-class exercise. It does the body wonders.
    Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect. -- Woody Hayes​

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    The good news is that it's already being done to one degree or another in a variety of places...I've seen it a lot in NYC.

    http://www.farmschoolnyc.org/

    http://sproutfarms.org/

    http://www.theyouthfarm.org/

    http://www.5thstreetfarm.org/

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    That is fantastic.

    We are trying to get School Food to a no processed foods in MI. I think it will really help.

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    The parent involvement is really the critical aspect because that's really where thebeating habits are established.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zelmo1234 View Post
    That is fantastic.

    We are trying to get School Food to a no processed foods in MI. I think it will really help.
    Seems like a good program...

    http://foodsystems.msu.edu/our-work/...l-mi-fts-grant

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    Red face

    Obesity Linked to Cognitive Decline...

    Body Mass Index Linked to Cognitive Decline
    October 18, 2016 - Being overweight is not good for your body, and new research suggests it’s not good for your brain either.
    Researchers from the University of Arizona say having a high body mass index, or BMI, can cause inflammation that can impair cognitive functioning in older adults. "The higher your BMI, the more your inflammation goes up," said Kyle Bourassa, lead author of the study, which is published in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity. "Prior research has found that inflammation, particularly in the brain, can negatively impact brain function and cognition."

    The conclusions were reached using data from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging, which “includes over 12 years' worth of information on the health, well-being and social and economic circumstances of the English population age 50 and older.” They looked specifically at two groups over a six-year period. "The higher participants' body mass at the first time point in the study, the greater the change in their CRP levels over the next four years,” Bourassa said. “CRP stands for C-reactive protein, which is a marker in the blood of systemic inflammation in your body. Change in CRP over four years then predicted change in cognition six years after the start of the study. The body mass of these people predicted their cognitive decline through their levels of systemic inflammation."


    An overweight man wears a shirt patterned after the American flag during a visit to the World Trade Center, in New York.

    The researchers say their study adds to existing literature about inflammation and cognitive decline by showing BMI has a role to play. "The findings provide a clear and integrative account of how BMI is associated with cognitive decline through systemic inflammation, but we need to remember that these are only correlational findings," he said. "Of course, correlation does not equal causation. The findings suggest a mechanistic pathway, but we cannot confirm causality until we reduce body mass experimentally, then examine the downstream effects on inflammation and cognition."

    While cognitive decline is normal as one gets older, linking BMI to inflammation could help stave off the worst effects. "If you have high inflammation, in the future we may suggest using anti-inflammatories not just to bring down your inflammation but to hopefully also help with your cognition," Bourassa said. "Having a lower body mass is just good for you, period. It’s good for your health and good for your brain."

    http://www.voanews.com/a/mht-body-ma...e/3556235.html

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    Cool

    Granny says, "Dat's right - eat yer nuts so's ya won't get fat...

    Eating hazelnuts, walnuts daily can stave off obesity risk
    Wednesday 27th September, 2017: People who regularly eat nuts - peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts - are less likely to be overweight or obese, said a study.
    According to researchers, those who consume the healthy snack were found to have a five percent lower risk of carrying extra pounds, compared to those who did not. The findings indicated that participants, in their study, gained an average of almost five pounds by the end of five years, but those who eat nuts routinely gained less weight. The study's senior investigator Dr Joan Sabate from Loma Linda University's school of public health in California suggested that nuts should replace animal fats. The authors suggested that putting them at the centre of your plate to replace animal products may be more satiating.

    Researchers from the university and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) examined the diets and weight of 3,73,000 adults aged between 25 and 70 from 10 European countries. A serving of mixed nuts typically contains just 1.5 grams of saturated fat. Sabate stated that they also provide a healthy dose of protein, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that can help boost energy. Nuts have also been linked to producing healthy aging benefits in seniors in a previous study by Dr Sabate.

    Nuts that were included in this study were peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, and walnuts. Experts say that vegan diets can be perfectly healthy - but they can cause serious health risks if they are not varied and balanced enough to ensure you're getting all the right nutrients. Furthermore, French scientists revealed last month that consuming processed meat can even worsen symptoms of asthma. The research appears in the European Journal of Nutrition.

    http://www.bignewsnetwork.com/news/2...f-obesity-risk

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