Hail Merry founder, Susan O’Brien was fortunate enough to attend the Clinton Foundation Health Matters Summit. She worked out with Jillian Michaels and gave President Clinton a sample of our Grawnola. Hail Merry Hails to the Chief! Read the details below.
Reality Check: Huge numbers of aging baby boomers, who by no fault of their own, grew up eating fake mayonnaise and white bread, smoked, drank martinis at lunch, and were told margarine was better than butter, are going to put a burden on our health care and Medicaid system that is so profound it could bankrupt our country. Younger generations pay into the Medicaid system to cover its elderly but the numbers are now SO lopsided since boomers are having fewer kids that it will take 20 years to even out leaving a huge burden for the next generation. The US outspends other nations by 850 – 1 trillion for healthcare. If we don’t begin to change the course of Americas overall health we will have no money left for defense, education, or social security. Nada folks! This is really serious and as a parent I am truly concerned for my grandchildren and this nation.
OK, I know that was a pretty heady lead in statement but it was not all gloom and doom at The Clinton Foundation’s inaugural HEALTH MATTERS summit to kick off the Humana Challenge previously beloved as the Bob Hope Classic Golf Tournament in Palm Springs CA. Bill and his really lovely and articulate daughter Chelsea hosted the event including guest speakers Susan Dell of the Dell Foundation, James Curleigh of KEEN shoes, Goldie Hawn, Dr, Mark Hyman, Billie Jean King, Jillian Michaels from The Biggest Looser, Surgeon General David Satcher 1998-2002 and Dr. Nancy Snyderman the Chief Medical Editor for NBC News to name a few.
It was truly a rock star moment when Bill Clinton took the stage to kick off the event. No one is more masterful at speaking and engaging a crowd than President Bill Clinton and now as a vegan and he has never looked better.
President Clinton enlisted the aid of insurance industry leader HUMANA to underwrite the event and help lead the cause to effect real change at the corporate level. After all it is corporate America who pays for the nations healthcare (if your lucky enough to have insurance). American corporations are changing their habits by walking more and eliminating unhealthy snacking during meetings. The wage disparity in this nation will only continue to worsen if we do not control healthcare costs. Rising insurance premiums will keep companies from paying higher wages therefore prolonging the recession. This is real folks - we all must engage our friends and family to live healthier lives.
Enlisting the help of the food industry will be a much bigger challenge in the coming years that is for sure. It will be interesting to see how much influence President Clinton will have over the food & drug industries special interest groups who continue to perpetuate the cycle of disease, which is “eat bad foods, get sick, take pills” and on and on it goes. Bill Clinton already led the cause to appeal to the soft drink industry to lower the sugar content in soft drinks. As a result our schools have an 88% calorie reduction in school soft drinks. This proves that we can effect change slowly and diligently. We are all Americans who want healthier lives for our children and future generations. Bill Clinton remarked “it is not a Republican nor a Democratic issue to be healthier, it is an American issue.
Childhood obesity and adult onset diabetes (“Diabesity” as coined by Dr. Mark Hyman) were by far the hot topics discussed. Chelsea Clinton who serves on the board of the Clinton Foundation lead a panel to discuss raising the bar for healthy schools. She commented that the average kids in America snacks 3x per day. 50 years ago the average kid snacked 1x per day. Billy Jean King commented that only 2% of elementary school students in America have access to Physical Education at school. That is staggering!
Goldie Hawn was there to talk about the MINDUP program she founded that has been implemented in schools across America. She believes that kids today feel so much more stress than in previous generations. She felt that the imagery seen by our kids during 9/11 would forever scar an entire generation. She has spent the past 10 years developing a program to give kids self-confidence and tools for living happier healthier lives. The program starts with teaching kids about their own physiology. How their brain actually works and how proper diet effects mood and performance in school and in sports.
Susan Dell talked about how important physical activity is to retaining what is learned in school.
Dr Hyman offered insight into how he helped transform Pastor Rick Warren’s 300+ congregation by collectively loosing thousands of pounds. “Being healthy is a team sport” commented Dr. Hyman.
At the end of the event President Clinton asked how can we work to get more organic foods into the hands of our citizens? I challenge everyone in America to not only reprogram their palates for healthier foods away from fast food, but to rethink their personal budgets. 50 years ago the average American spent 20% of their income on food. Today we on average spend 5%. Healthy foods especially organic, costs more, period! The only way to reduce the cost of organic foods is for people to buy more of them. Chemicals, pesticides & hormones are serious free radicals and disrupters to health that lead to cancer and other major health issues. Think about it - would you rather spend 15% more on your bill at the grocery store and live a healthy life free from medical bills or by contrast, when you hit your 50s be sick and in need of doctors and protracted surgeries? Think of it as a personal insurance policy on yourself. Obesity is not a disease of the poor, but a disease of an affluent society. Third world countries eat foods that they grow themselves not foods from a fast food chain.
There was also discussion about implementing school gardens and teaching children about where food comes from and how it nourishes the body. Another highlight for me was meeting the founders of a non-profit called The Kitchen Community out of Boulder. They have designed really cool modular garden boxes for school playgrounds. Please check out their website http://www.thekitchencommunity.org/support/.
Jillian Michaels put the hurt on 50 or so of the guests before the summit began. Check out the video. I can barely walk today!
Founder, Hail Merry