by Robyn O’Brien
Today’s headlines are enough to make any mother wary. As we battle our toddlers in the grocery store, we hardly have the energy left to decipher the headlines: Organics aren’t healthier, death panels await health care reform, bankers receive record bonuses, swine flu pandemics swirl . What has happened to the world that our children are inheriting? And does anyone care?
Perhaps we should. Because the children of today represent the economy of tomorrow. Today’s parents and grandparents are raising the “think tanks” that are going to be the solutions to tomorrow’s problems . Today’s children will reinvent energy technology, redefine reform and regulations and enhance agricultural productivity in ways that we can not even begin to imagine. But only if we give them the tools with which to do it.
Obama insisting on school and education, with the support of Laura Bush, is a start. But more fundamentally, what about health? Today, 1 in 3 American children now has autism, allergies, ADHD or asthma. 90% of the worlds ADHD medications are prescribed to the American kids, while the US only represent 5% of the world’s population. According to MSNBC, sales of EpiPens are up, while test scores are down. And according to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 2 African American kids and 1 in 3 Caucasian kids born in the year 2000 (that is this year’s 4th Graders) will be insulin dependent by the time they reach adulthood.
And while Kraft, Coca Cola and Wal-Mart formulate their products differently for children overseas (with reduced fat, salt and synthetic ingredient content), our National School Lunch Program continues to be a dumping ground for the remnants of the agrichemical corporations who are unable to dispose of their technology laced corn and soy in grocery stores, restaurants or to the livestock industry. And while we allocate $600 billion to the Pentagon in 2009, we only allocated $9 billion to the National School Lunch Program and a meager $2.4 billion to the FDA.
And we wonder why our children have earned the title “Generation Rx” or why our economy is heaving under the burden of health care costs.