Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Body Abuses

The article in today’s JS about the 6 time Olympic swimming champion being picked up on a DUI charge and the recent deaths of young “binge” drinkers renew my beliefs that the most dangerous drug on the market is alcohol. When I was in grade school our teacher made an impression on me that I never forgot. She explained the difference between “chronic” and “acute” use of alcohol. She advised us not to get started drinking but she also warned us that “acute” use of alcohol could cause immediate death. She explained that a person who did not drink at all could one day poison their system with a lot of alcohol and the bodies systems, unprepared, could not fight off this attack of alcohol and would react in such a manner as to sometimes cause immediate death.

I note that most of these deaths, the few that even make the news, could in part be prevented by more emphasis on keeping our bodies healthy and that this not only be taught at home, where it often isn’t, but thru indoctrination classes in middle schools, high schools and colleges. I’m sure much teaching is done as a warning of consequences of poor health habits, but I’m also sure that much of it is not effective or not even being taught.

In Sunday’s edition, on 9/26/04 in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, that paper thought enough about our health crisis to devote 14 full pages or an entire section of the newspaper under the title of “OUR OVERWEIGHT KIDS; A SUPERSIZED CRISIS”. In an article dated 11/08/04 in USA Today, reports that the United States is in a “fragile state of health” and Illinois is 29th out of 50 states making progress toward better health. It states that “driven partly by smoking reduction, the nation became 17% healthier since 1990 but since 2000, the improvement leveled off and is rising only 0.02% a year”. It also gives three of the most common causes of the health of our citizens is, the higher percentage of people without health insurance, declining high school graduation rates and increased child poverty. (We would graduate more if we finally understood the mistaken assumption that all our kids are going to college and have high paying desk jobs).

I recently wrote a “blog” about removing sugar loaded soft drinks from the public schools and selling only diet drinks with no sugar, bottled water and milk. This has been done in some schools with great success. I suspect by observation that #150 has the greatest number of overweight kids. Examples should be set by everyone in positions of leadership. Examples should be set not only in the schools but by all who are considered to be in positions of leadership.

It’s way past time to start doing more than we are doing towards improving this communities health and the educating of children and adults about the problems of health abuse with it’s resulting higher cost of medical and drug treatments and the consequential rise in health insurance premiums.

I’d like to hear from my readers what their thoughts are on the matter of health issues.

I love those old Burma Shave roadways signs such as “PASSING SCHOOL ZONE TAKE IT SLOW LET OUR LITTLE SHAVERS GROW.” Let’s also start doing a better job of looking after kids health by warning them of the dangerous effects of the abuses they subject to their bodies!! And repeat these warning as few listen the first time told.


Rob said...

Health insurance premiums are on the rise. Poor kids don't eat healthy meals. Booze kills. Insurance of any kind is often not affordable to the target group you speak of, healthy food is almost twice the cost of frozen, fried food, and booze is around every corner in #150's domain.

We all make choices, true enough, but, we often have to make choices based on our reality and what is available to us financially. How many people in District 150's area do you suppose have insurance, free access to health clubs, a several hundred dollar per week food budget, or the budget to pay teachers what they are worth to our children?

When you were in grade school, the school was a sort of extension of the community, kids were held accountable, teachers cared. The government has made sure that poor areas continue to decline, through cut salaries and personnel, and school officials are likely not to say much, due to the ease with which one comment offends some special interest group with a "moral" axe to grind,while they ship their kids off to private schools and avoid the problem.

We want "no child left behind", but the system is making wide the exit door for anyone who can fit through. Meanwhile, the ones left will continue to operate with less and less funding. What good is removing sugar loaded soft drinks, when our old friend alcohol is propped up at every corner? The days of Burma Shave are gone. They have been replaced by the Mach 3; smooth, sharp, and expensive. Just like our government.

Anonymous said...

Media, advertising, MTV, sports events all promote the glamor of alchol. It will take much more reform than school.

Society as a whole makes it difficult to go alchol free. Haven't you been to a family party where the adults are all drinking. If we want to know where they learn to drink, its usually through watching those they love and respect. Great article.

Merle Widmer said...

Anonomous and Rob,

Good reading and true. Start somewhere even small. Yesterday I asked District #150 to review how their phone calls were being answered. I understand Chuch Fabish is having the entire system reviewed. We will be doing the same thing at Peoria County except for the elected officials who can do as they please. I will bring it up before COG since I represent the County in their monthly meeting. This came about because people were not even able to talk to a human voice. I try not to do business with an organization who does not permit me to talk to a human voice.


Bill Dennis said...

Merle, as I recall from my reading, the district claims it that the plans to renovate its HQ on Wisconsin avenue would also include a phone system renovation. This is the renovation project that also would include seperate entrances so school board members would not have to encounter the public when they enter and leave school board sessions. Want to bet they will call this a safety feature and make use of safety funds?

Merle Widmer said...


Good to see you up and running! As a County Board member, I enter & leave the building same way the public does. I often wear my name badge so anyone wants to talk to me knows who I am.

We are going to pass our 2005 budget Thursday nite. Come down for the fun and party time!!

Best Regaards

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