Monday, December 5, 2011

Information & Education is the Key...

Information & Education is the Key that allows a paradigm shift to what we think we know. Yesterday a paradigm shift occurred for the youth that attended The Bronx Youth Empowerment Program’s Series “A Sit Down With…”

A Sit Down With…
A segment of BYEP’S curriculum where prominent community leaders and professionals come together to engage our youth in a deep conversation about life experiences and their expertise. Dr. Unab Khan, of Pediatrics at Montefiore was the guest speaker.

How much time does it take to consume 3500 calories for an Average American?
How much time goes into getting rid of 3500 calories?

These questions and more was the top conversation of the day. Many youth (and adults) take for granted that their health will always be safe, never taking into account that smart and healthy eating along with active lifestyles determine good health.  Dr. Khan’s informational session allowed the group to see first-hand what fat looks like inside the body. Secondly, she visualized what soda and fruit juice actually is SUGAR!  When the youth witnessed how much sugar they were consuming from a 16oz Pepsi, Mt Dew, Fruit Juice from concentrate or my favorite 10% or 100% fruit juice with natural flavors, they gagged and moaned. Energy drinks are no better as they not only add sugar but also high doses of caffeine to the system. What many of us fail to realize is that our youth are targeted by advertisers every day to eat foods advertisers know have NO nutritional value. We must read labels, understand the chemicals we drink and eat, pay attention to when and how much we digest, and most important care about our bodies enough that we don’t get caught up in the Matrix of advertising giants whose main concern is profit, not healthy choices.

The Bronx leads all boroughs as the number one unhealthiest borough in NYC. We have an obesity problem and yet we still allow marketer’s to shape what we eat and fight anyone who suggests that we should buy healthy; crying cost. 17 yr. old Tamara suffers from type 1 diabetes. As she shared her story of what life is like dealing with needles, pumps, and having to take medicine after every meal. The room fell silent. Diabetes does not discriminate and we all must demand and make healthy choices when it comes our well-being.
How many of us are willing to give up soda?
The truth about soda and power drinks we consume they have NO nutritional value. These acids and sugar have been proven to cause tooth decay, increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Dr. Khan’s information and education encourages us all to educate ourselves on anything we put in our bodies. As healthcare cost have spiraled to another level-another conversation- I remember the saying “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure”. The choice is ours, it really is: paradigm shift.

By Andy King