Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less



CHILDREN: Keep kids active after school

More than 10 million kids nationwide, including 183,099 in Washington, attend after-school programs. A new study from the Afterschool Alliance highlights critical but sometimes-overlooked benefits of the programs: They’re helping kids eat healthy and be active, and offering the healthy choices that parents demand.

According to survey data from Kids on the Move, 85 percent of Washington parents say their children’s program offers opportunities for physical activity. That’s exactly what parents of children in these programs want them to provide.

After-school, before-school and summer learning programs support kids, parents and communities in many other important ways. They keep kids safe,

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HEALTH: Let real science be your sunscreen guide

Re: “Keep rays at bay: For more natural approach to sun protection, these options come out on top” (thenewstribune.com, 6-12).

The article relies on seemingly sound science to raise questions about the safety of sunscreens.

The National Institutes of Health identifies solar UV radiation as a “known human carcinogen.” A single bad burn as a child can increase the skin’s susceptibility to skin cancer throughout life.

What does the real science say? Sunscreens are safe and effective. The article questioned the safety of a key sunscreen ingredient – oxybenzone – and an important skin-conditioning compound – retinyl palmitate (or

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HEALTH: First lady’s program does work

Re: “First lady’s program doesn’t work” (letter, 12-8).

Gee, that’s weird about the letter on our first lady’s nutrition program not working. I too listen to many “talk radio” stations (at least five) and have heard many success stories. My own brother-in-law lost 98 pounds because of the information on nutrition he’s heard, thanks to our first lady.

Those who are frustrated about their obesity: Don’t blame Michelle Obama. Blame yourself. As for school employees’ hours being reduced due to “Obama’s rules,” I asked around about this and was told this is about as far-fetched as you can possibly

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HEALTH: First lady’s program doesn’t work

I am all for first ladies having a focus and helping to spread the word and clean up an area of society that seems to be in need. It is Michelle Obama’s desire to cut down on the number of obese persons in society. Good intentioned, but the way she is going about it is causing major frustrations throughout the land.

On talk radio, I hear callers expressing their frustration at working as a food server and putting out the food that Mrs. Obama wants the kids to eat, but the kids don’t eat it and dump this unused food

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HEALTH: Make recess a priority for schools

Re: “Boys join unhealthy body craze” (TNT, 11-19).

The obsession with muscle-building isn’t new; boys have always wanted to look like their heroes. “Champ,” a Norman Rockwell painting from 1922, shows a scrawny teenager clutching his barbells while peering at a poster of a massive weightlifter.

What is new is the availability of steroids, which should be treated as the dangerous drugs they are. Social pressures have also increased. Educators and parents put far too much emphasis on precociousness and early achievement. They want kids to hurry up, grow up, master college skills, become star athletes, choose majors, choose

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HEALTH: Don’t hop on pop; obesity has complex causes

Re: “Put down that sugary drink – or put on the pounds” (editorial, 10-1).

The causes of obesity are far more complex than the occasional soft drink. Obesity is caused by an energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories burned, not a particular food or beverage item.

That equation can be put out of and back into balance by changes on either side. Consider that a University of Illinois researcher found strong correlations between total miles driven and obesity rates. Another study from Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis found that kids who lived near soccer fields and tennis courts

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