Tag Archives: America

Come to the Table – Promedica Presents – Hunger Is A Health Issue – Part 2


This week at the Come to the Table Promedica Workshop at the Jimmy Carter Center in Atlanta, GA, I had a chance to listen to the panel discussion on what is working and what we need to work on  in the fight against hunger.

Harriet Giles, PHD, Managing Director from Auburn Hunger Solutions Institute and Director of External Relations, College of Human Sciences Auburn University – discuss about the Alabama model delivery trucks for the Summer Children’s Program which provides healthy meals for children during the summer months when school is closed.

Susan Respess – Auburn Hunger Solutions Institute and Vice President of Government Relations of Children’s of Alabama – talked about medical compliance relationship with kids access to food in order to take their medications.

Alexandra Lewin-Zwerdling, PHD, MPA – Senior Adviser, Hunger Impact of AARP Foundation – discussed that the revised version of the My Plate has been very effective in the fight against hunger.  Ms. Lewin-Zwerdling did said what is not effective is that alot of the  50+ years older adult population are having a lack of money,  poor locations and availability to healthy foods.  This population group are usually tremendous effected by the food deserts in their communities.

Duke Storen, Senior Director, Research, Advocacy and Partner Development of Share Our Strength explained that 1 in 5 children have fallen into the category of food insecurity.  What is working to fight hunger is the school breakfast program, WIC, food skill education programs from individual grants and SNAP for low income children. What is not working is less participation in SNAP program.  What could work better is the benefits and funding levels of the SNAP program needs to increase particularly for the out of school time such as after school programs, weekends and summertime.  Mr. Duke Storen explained that there is more poverty is in the suburbs than in the inner cities.  Mr. Duke Storen gave us a Five Points Plan that will assist with eliminating hunger.

5 Points Plan

  1. Screening
  2. Direct Services – Ex. WIC
  3. Leadership
  4. Metric Driven Based Program
  5. Funding
  6. Advocacy

Debbie Britt – Board Member of the Meals on Wheels Association of America (MOWAA) and Executive Director Community & Public Relations, Piedmont Fayette Hospital explained what is working is the collaboration with the communities with transportation issues to healthier supermarkets, helping the community with changing their lifestyle and having physical exercise programs at Senior Centers such as Zumba and providing Meals on Wheels programs.  Ms. Britt did explained what is not working is that hospital not understanding the importance of learning about nutrition and that Medicaid does not pay for nutritional services.

At the end of the workshop, Mike Beier from President and CEO, ContXt, gave us a  Engaging the Community to End Hunger:  Meeting in  a Box  Dialogue game where you can have a engaging group discussion about ways that the community can end hunger.  I can not wait to use this with my clients and community leaders. This one day workshop was a excellent event and hopefully we will have more voices who are willing to fight against hunger  and make it a health issue!


Come to the Table – Promedica Presents – Hunger Is A Health Issue – Part 1


I had the excellent opportunity to come to the incredible 2nd annual Regional Summit Workshop on Hunger that was presented by Promedia and the Alliance for Hunger.  This workshop was held at the beautiful grounds of the Jimmy Carter Center in Atlanta, GA.  The workshop started off with Barbara Petee who is the Chief Advocacy and Government Relations Officer of Promedia.  She discussed about how obesity ties in with hunger and that hunger is a public health and moral issue.  She stated that the only way to find a solution to end hunger is to address it.


Next came Lee Hammerling, MD works with Promedia as the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Physician Executive of Promedia.   Dr. Hammerling discussed about Promedia which is a community based, mission driven, non-for-profit business that is employee strategically focused and fiscally sound.  Promedia’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of the communities we serve.   Dr. Hammerling also discussed about public healthcare where the annual cost of hunger to every U.S. citizen is on pace to b e a rough amount of $42,400 per citizen over a course of a lifetime.  The overall cost of hunger to our nation’s amount to be at least $167,5 Billion.  Promedia believes that the healthcare system should take a leadership role – clinically, socially and economically. Dr. Hammerling spoke about how remission key risk factors and social determinants can impact a person’s health. Lack of transportation + lack of food = remission to hospital.


Audrey Rowe, Administrator, Food and Nutrition Service(FNS), U.S. Department of Agriculture spoke about the FNS Consumer Service mission to end hunger and improve nutrition in America.  She also explained about food insecurities that in about 360,000 households that 1 to more children simply do not get enough to eat.  This is the Healthy people 2020 ten year focus on economic cost, hunger cost and health disparities. Programs that have been fighting hunger for children are the  SNAP(Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) which has been in existence for 50 years and WIC (Women, Infant and Children) which has been in existence for 40 years.  SNAP consist of the Commodity Food Assistance program,  Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act and Health Incentives.  There is also the FINI (Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Grant Program) which supports projects to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables among low-income consumers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by providing incentives at the point of purchase such as Farmer’s Markets and mobile markets.

Next week, I will discuss about the Panel Discussion on what is working and what is not working with the fight for eliminating hunger.

Come to the Table – Promedica and the Alliance to End Hunger

The Jimmy Carter Center in the Atlanta, Georgia

The Jimmy Carter Center in the Atlanta, Georgia


During this holidays season, there will be one out of every six people in the United States or more than 50 million people, including nearly 17 million children and 4 million seniors – faces hunger. Hunger is not just a problem in struggling Third World countries.  I was invited to come to the The Jimmy Carter Center in Atlanta, GA  to the Come to the Table – Promedica and the Alliance to End Hunger seminar and I was in shock with everything that I have heard.

There are 10 states with residents who are especially burdened with food insecurity and do not know where they will get their next meal.  The states are Ohio, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, Alabama, North Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, Nevada and California.  Americans facing hunger have limited budgets and are routinely forced to make difficulty choices with their limited resources.   One of the choices with the most devastating consequences is whether to buy food or the medicine and medical care needed to survive. Underweight babies are also at a higher risk of hunger as they age, further compounding the difficulties they face. Without access to good nutrition, particularly in their first three years of life, these children lack the solid foundation for physical and mental health, educational achievement, and economic productivity.  Adults experiencing food insecurity are at greater risk of developing type II diabetes and more likely to experience mental and behavioral healthy problems, including higher levels of depression and anxiety.

So what can we do about ending hunger?  Well, this seminar is going to answer this question and will show us how we can get involved in to make hunger a health issue that all our healthcare leaders can address to our Congress and other government departments and agencies.  Next week I will talk about the presentations that were discussed during the seminar.




Healthy Weight Week

Standing on Scale

It is unfortunate that America’s definition of a healthy week is being skinny rail thin.  Alot of us will never be able to become this weight because we are all created differently.  Is there a time during the year that we can celebrate our true healthy weight?  Well there now is!  During January 20th thru 26th, 2013 is a week of celebrate of Healthy Weight week!  For over 20 years the Healthy Weight Network has celebrated a healthy diet-free living habits that last a lifetime and prevent eating and weight problems.  This is a time to accept your weight and be happy for your natural weight.

This year the Healthy Weight Network is giving a prestigious award called the Women’s Healthy Body Image Awards.  The award winners are:

  1. Award winning British singer Adele!  Adele is unapologetic about her weight and has been quoted saying “I’ve seen people where it rules their lives, how it wears them down. I don’t want that in my life.”  Be happy and healthy. I like looking nice, but I always put comfort over fashion. I make music to be a musician not to be on the cover of Playboy.”
  2. Dynamic speaker and self-esteem advocate – Nancy Redd who has written two books  Body Drama and Diet Drama which has redefine beauty for teen girls.  Ms. Redd discusses about her book Body Drama.  “I wrote Body Drama so that we could all acknowledge, understand, and celebrate the fact that every body is different, and no matter what size and shape you are, you deal with body drama, and you are not alone!”
  3. Prof. Moria Golan, Director of the Management of Eating Disorders, Hebrew University of Jerusalem developed interactive educational program to promoting positive self and body image among youth in Israel.  It is called In Favor of Myself .  “Participants learn to identify and counter prejudice and structures that contribute to body preoccupation. They role play, practice positive self-talk, resolve conflict and state their own opinions with confidence.” (quoted by Healthy Weight Network).

For further information about Healthy Weight Week check out the Healthy Weight Network website:  www.healthyweightnetwork.com .

If you would like to have your own Healthy Weight Meal Plan Consultation click to our website Living Healthy

Lupus Awareness Month

I have notice in recent years the increase rates of people being diagnosis with this chronic, autoimmune disease called Lupus.  There has been a lot of big misunderstanding about this disease.  Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect various parts of the body, especially the skin, joints, blood, and kidneys but the problem with this disease is that no one knows the cause.  The symptoms of Lupus are affecting so many different organs and the wide range of symptoms can occur very frequently.  Lupus being an autoimmune disease has cause the immune system not being able to tell the difference between foreign body invaders and the body’s healthy tissues and creates auto-antibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue.  It is not contagious nor is it not like or related to HIV or Cancer.  It is believed that 5 million people throughout the world have a form of lupus and women of color are 2-3 times more likely to develop lupus.   A diagnosis of lupus remains with you for the rest of your life and unfortunately there is not a cure yet.

For a person living with Lupus it is important to engage in exercise regularly or some kind of movement such as such as walking, swimming, bicycling, low-impact aerobics, certain types of yoga, Pilates, stretching, or using an elliptical exercise machine will strengthen your bones and tone.  Fatigue does happen with 80% of the Lupus patients but there are things you can do to manage this.

  1. Establish good sleep patterns.
  2. Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.
  3. Napping during the day for rest.

Some people with lupus have increased sensitivity to ultraviolet rays, either from sunlight or from artificial inside light.  It is important to wear clothing made of sun-protective fabric and use Sunbrellas when being in the outdoors for a long time.

Another misnomer about Lupus is diet and nutrition that there is no special diet for lupus unlike what is written on the internet, in various books and publications.   A nutritious, well-balanced, and varied diet that contains plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, moderate amounts of meats, poultry, and oily fish, as fish oil (high in Omega-3 fatty acid) has been found to help reduce inflammation.  There is one food that lupus patients should avoid which is alfalfa.  Alfalfa has been associated with lupus-like syndrome or lupus flares.

How can you become successful in managing Lupus?  First you can start with recognition of this disease.

  •   Recognize your particular symptoms and how your illness affects you.
  •  Recognize what you can do to prevent flares and what to do if you do experience a flare.
  •   Recognize any changes in symptoms or physical conditions that could suggest disease activity.
  • Recognize the tension and stress that often accompany chronic illness.
  •  Recognize the best coping strategies and techniques to reduce that stress.

The best way to help you have a life with Lupus by educating yourself and get involved in finding a cure. For more information about Lupus check out the Lupus Foundation of America website:  www.lupus.org .

Remember to Live Healthy!

Check out the www.livinghealthy1.org website for more nutritional consultations.

US Children are intaking too much sodium

Being a dietitian I have consulted numerous children with their families about the child’s dietary intake.  I did noticed that the children were eating alot of processed foods which in turn have alot of sodium.  When the study came out from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center of Disease Control about the children in the U.S. eat almost as much salt as adults and the study also found a clear link between sodium intake and higher blood pressure.  For more information about the study click here.

So how much sodium should a child have per day?  A child should have less than 2300 mg of sodium per day which is equivalent to one teaspoon of salt.  Most physicians agree that a diet high in sodium contributes to high blood pressure, which, in turn, is a known risk factor for heart disease, America’s number one cause of death.  But how can parents cut down their child’s sodium intake?  The most important thing is to start reading the food labels and understand what is in the food you are eating and preparing.  In order to learn how you can change your child’s eating habits is to speak to a Registered Dietitian.  Living Healthy provides customized nutritional consulting service at www.livinghealthy1.org .  Start making changes today to improve your child’s eating habits for a life time.

The Global Epidemic of Diabetes

This month of November is American Diabetes Month.  Diabetes is not just an American disease but an global epidemic. Everyone knows that HIV/AIDS is taking a toll in Africa but not everyone knows that Diabetes is of similar magnitude silently claiming as many deaths (3.8 million) per year. I was invited to go to the International Diabetes Federation –  World Diabetes Congress Conference in 2006 at Cape Town, South Africa, with the African-American Committee of Interest Group (AACOI) of American Association of Diabetes Educators.  I learned so much about the epidemic of diabetes not only in Africa and in America but worldwide. I always wanted to go to Africa and see what the motherland is truly like. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity so I knew that it was the right time to go.

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) (www.idf.org)  is a worldwide alliance of 200 diabetes association’s comprised of 158 countries.  For over 50 years IDF has been at the vanguard of global diabetes advocacy.  Its mission is to promote diabetes care, prevention and a cure worldwide.  IDF is committed to raising global awareness of diabetes by promoting appropriate diabetes care and prevention and encouraging activities towards finding a cure for the different types of diabetes.  In December 2011, the International Diabetes Federation – World Diabetes Congress Conference will be held in Dubai

It is predicted in 2025 – 380 million people worldwide will be diagnosed with diabetes.  It is interesting to note that the highest rate of diabetes is found in India at 40.9 million followed by China with 39.8 million and not in the United States with 21 million.  Sadly, the global spending for diabetes care is less than 15%.  The global diabetes epidemic treatment and prevention will cost at least 232 billion USD.  By 2025, the cost is likely to exceed 302.5 billion USD.  As you can see diabetes is a global epidemic and each continental region has their approach to the assessment, treatment and prevention of diabetes.

The Southeast Asia region carries the highest burden of type 2 diabetes mellitus in the world.  Presently, 40 million people are affected and it is projected to increase to approximately 80 million by 2025.  Currently, in order to combat this spread Asian healthcare is using the diabetes educational teaching and training provided to healthcare professionals who work in rural communities.  Chinese medical treatment of diabetes are being widely used which does includes herbal prescriptions, acupuncture and dietary recommendations.  

It is predicted by the World Health Organization (www.who.org) in the western hemisphere region that by 2030, the prevalence of diabetes will be 67 million.  In the Caribbean there is the Lay Diabetes Education Program to assist in the treatment and care of diabetes.  In this program a lead member of the community or community health worker is selected to assist those with diabetes.  This is a community program where the diabetes education and treatment is used to combat the spread of diabetes.  

Diabetes is a leading cause of death in Europe affecting over 33.3 million people.  In 2030, it is predicted that 48 million people in the European Union will have diabetes. The National Diabetes Programs is where there are 11 out of 25 member states of the European Union that have a national framework or plan for diabetes.  Member state’s national diabetes plans vary significantly in their quality and value in reducing the disease burden and its costly complications.

In 2030 it is predicted that in the African and Middle East region the prevalence of diabetes will be as a combined total of 60 million.  There is a high incidence of obesity which attributes to the high incidence of type 2 diabetes.  The care and treatment of diabetes in the Middle East regions promotes a holistic approach to diabetes care and prevention.  To combat the high incidences of Mature Onset Diabetes in Youth (MODY) there are wellness days in the school systems on diabetes prevention.

Since the IDF Conference was held in South Africa, the AACOI and I went to the G.F. Jooste Hospital in one of the townships nearby downtown Cape Town.  There we witness and discuss about the problems of diabetes care and treatment going on at this particular hospital.  There are 1.2 million people who live in the township and have access to G.F Jooste Hospital.  This medical hospital has only 90 beds and currently serves between 70 to 80 thousand patients monthly.  At the moment there is no chronic or diabetes care unit available due to the widespread epidemic of HIV and TB.  Since there is no diabetes care unit at the hospital the people with diabetes that develop Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) may not receive the appropriate treatment they need.  There is an Intensive Care Unit in the hospital where treatment of DKA patients is administered but there are only eight beds available for all chronic disease and trauma patients.  In one day, the hospital does 38 leg amputations and this is due to lack of diabetes education, information and general ignorance of diabetes treatment and care. The average stay for patients is two days and there have been incidents where many people have been sent home before they are suppose to be discharged.  Dealing with people with diabetes at G.F. Jooste Hospital is usually a full time job since the patients are using the hospital as a clinic.  This hospital is the only place available to the patient’s disposal since it is open 24 hours day and 7 days per week.

So what can we do to stop this global epidemic of diabetes?  There are organizations that are bringing awareness, education, prevention and treatment worldwide.  There is the International Diabetes Federation that I have mentioned that is leading in a campaign with the United Nations.  The campaign is “Unite for Diabetes”www.unitefordiabetes.org/campaign  which is to raise awareness of diabetes and its complication, to improve diabetes care worldwide and to advocate for action to tackle the diabetes epidemic.  The joint collaborated efforts of the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization organized the primary global awareness campaign of the diabetes world called World Diabetes Day www.worlddiabetesday.org.  It was first introduced in 1991 in response to concern over the escalating incidence of diabetes around the world.  It is celebrated every year on November 14th and this year 2011-2013 theme is Diabetes Prevention and Education.

The ravages of diabetes will never go away unless everyone makes an effort.  Early diagnosis and early education are crucial to preventing complications and saving lives.  All of the healthcare communities, educators and patients around the world must join forces to stop this epidemic from spreading, prevent the condition in those at risk, and avoid unnecessary death and disability.  If we do not do this then the future generations will unfortunately have to deal with the dire consequences of this major global epidemic.   For more information on Living Healthy please check out my website:  www.livinghealthy1.com .  Be Blessed!

When Ms. Rogers Lobbies in Washington, DC

On the day of meeting which was Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 with our Congresspersons and Senators, we were not prepared for how cold the weather was going to be.  I was a balmy sunny day at a high in the 30’s and I really was not in the mood to walk all around the State Capitol and the Mall area.  But I had to remind myself that I have a job to do and that was to get votes and support for the ADA supported public policy agenda! I had the chance to do my week long presentation for Congressman David Scott of Georgia but unfortunately I did not have a chance to meet with him.  I was fortunate to meet with his Legislative Aide who so graciously gave my wonderful Georgia Gang ADA Public Policy Group a chance to speak about Congressman David Scott support for the Older Americans Act Reauthorization bill, The Healthier Lifestyles and Prevention America Act otherwise known as the HELP America Act S.174 and The Medical Foods Equity Act – “Reducing Health Disparities”.  Being here really gave me a chance to truly appreciate the legislative system that America has.  There is no other country out there were you as a citizen can meet with your officials and lobby for support in what you believe in.  So far we do have some support for what we have requested.  It is important for everyone to visit Washington, DC and learn about how a bill becomes a law, how the political process really works, what you should do when lobbying for your cause and how to tell them your story in order to get support for cause.  (Picture below is the famous White House).

I would like to thank the wonderful Georgia Dietetic Association Public Policy Group otherwise known as the Georgia Gang.  They are a wonderful group of ladies and made my public policy lobbying trip at the Hill superb! Here are some pictures below during my visit to the Hill!

For further pictures click here