Merilee Kern knows about fitness. A former female body-building champion, Kern was an active child. Now that she’s a mother herself, she wants to ensure that her children and their peers benefit from physical fitness and healthy food choices.
From the time Dr. Denise Hooks-Anderson was a little girl, becoming a physician was all she ever wanted to do. “I was a doctor for all of my dolls, and I would watch different doctor shows like Marcus Welby, M. D.,” she recalls. “I always kept that dream and desire, and just went full speed ahead after it.” The Arkansas native, who came to St. Louis in 2000, also was inspired by her childhood doctor. “He was truly the old-fashioned type, and I wanted to emulate him. I didn’t have any female physician role models, but it didn’t matter to me. That’s just what I wanted to do.”
Recent headlines trumpeted the good news: Obesity rates among 3- to 5-year-olds appear to be decreasing. Yet the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still report that as of 2012, more than a third of American children were either overweight or obese, and parents need to guide their kids toward healthy choices.
We tend to think of cardiovascular health as an adult issue. But experts say that parents should guide their children in heart-healthy lifestyles from the start.
Physical inactivity literally is killing America. Data indicates that 11 percent of children ages 6 to 11, and 14 percent of those ages 11 to 16, are obese. In addition, more than one-half of adults don’t meet recommended levels of activity, and half of them have no regular physical activity. Sedentary lifestyles lead to increased health risks and higher health care costs. Since this habit of inactivity begins early in life, the promotion of physical activity among children is imperative for their health and for the future of our nation.
Diabetes is one of the most prevalent diseases of modern society. An increasing number of people are developing this complex metabolic disease, in which high blood sugar occurs because the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or because the cells in the body do not respond to the insulin being produced.
Almost one in three adult Missourians is obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As one of the fattest states in the nation, it’s no surprise that obesity is becoming an increasing problem for our children, too.
> It’s official: Copia Urban Winery & Market is open again for business after more than two years. The wine bar, located at 1122 Washington Avenue, opens to the public today, but we saw the rehabbed space at the grand opening party June 17. The results are truly impressive. Check it out, esepcially the retractable roof over the patio!
Cleft Palate Prevention…Cleft palate and lip occurs in about one in 700 newborns worldwide. This disfiguring congenital defect causes feeding difficulty for infants and later problems with speech, hearing, and dental development. Treatment costs are high and multiple surgical repairs may be needed. Researchers already know that some cases of cleft lip and palate are environmentally linked to exposures in the uterus: maternal smoking, viral infections and certain medications. In other cases, genetic variation plays a larger role. Dr. David Ornitz, professor of developmental biology at Washington University School of Medicine, led a recent study on the complex origination of cleft palate among dozens of genes in a fetus. “A cleft palate is often diagnosed late in pregnancy and treated surgically after birth,” Ornitz says. “If we understood the genetic causes of this common birth defect, we might be able to diagnose it much earlier.”
Our emotional lives are closely intertwined with food. We eat to celebrate. Our moms give us chicken soup when we’re sick. Food is our comfort when the world treats us badly. “Healthy emotional eating is OK. It’s when eating becomes a way of numbing ourselves, as in binge eating, or as a way to control or punish ourselves, as in anorexia, that we have a problem,” notes Dr. Kim McCallum of McCallum Place, a comprehensive treatment center for adolescents and adults struggling with eating disorders.
We should get back to basics and use our bodies as they were intended. Let’s run free and barefoot! Let’s get stress fractures! There are definitely two camps when it comes to walking and running barefoot.
Life is all about enjoying the journey—and making mid-course corrections. Wellness means different things at different points in our journey. According to Michael Thompson of Performance Chiropractic, overall health and wellness can be assessed by three questions: How am I keeping myself fit? Am I feeding myself the fuel I need? How’s my outlook on life? “No question, we’ve gotten out of control in the last 50 years,” he says. We are more sedentary than ever, our diet has degenerated and we’ve added a lot of stress, Thompson notes.
For most people, food is just another part of the day—something consumed on the go or casually at their kitchen table. But for an inspired few, food isn’t only a necessity—it’s a daily opportunity for physical and emotional nourishment, a communal connection.
Eyelashes After Chemo
Mason first came to St. Louis Children’s Hospital in June 2008, after his parents, Julie and Larry Byrom, received a call from his teacher at school. “The teacher said he didn’t look too well, and we later found out that when he fell asleep from his nap, he had almost stopped breathing completely,” says Julie.
Long summer evenings are perfect for kids. Hitting the ball around the yard, riding bikes, playing tag with neighborhood friends and chasing fireflies keep kids busy for hours. At least, that’s how it used to be.
A mad, mad world…Mad Men star and St. Louis native JON HAMM will be the guest of honor at COCA’s upcoming COCAcabana gala May 2 at the organization’s headquarters. Hamm was thrilled to lend his name and time to the organization that provides arts opportunities to more than 50,000 St. Louis children and adults each year. Tickets begin at $250 and are available at 725-1834 x105, or by visiting cocastl.org/cocacabana.
Year after year, the American Heart Association works to fulfill its mission of ‘building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.’
National Kidney Foundation…Twenty-six million American adults (one in eight) have chronic kidney disease, and another 20 million are at increased risk of developing it. “Unfortunately, not everybody is aware of the risk factors of kidney disease, which include hypertension, diabetes and family history,” says Cyndi Miller, development director for the National Kidney Foundation in St. Louis.
When they chose a theme for the American Heart Association’s annual Heart Ball, organizers wanted to inspire guests to look into the future and imagine a world free of childhood obesity and other health risks that lead to heart disease.