Did you know it was National Girl Scout Cookie Day last Friday? There are many months and days dedicated to specific issues, but this one caught my attention – and not for the right reasons.
Full disclosure – I am a mother of a girl scout and, as such, a co-peddler of cookies. I have served my time knocking on doors in January, encouraging weary little feet to try just one more street and teaching an elementary age scout to accept “no-thank you” with grace and a smile.
We know Girl Scout Cookies are a treat; they are not low in fat, sugar or calories. I have struggled with the fact that selling lots of boxes provides the funds for the programs that benefit my daughter. We are respectful of people when they say – I’m watching my weight or need to cut down – and our own family order is modest. (Working here at AICR, I know that being overweight increases the risk of seven cancers and so it’s important for adults – and kids – to have healthy eating habits for cancer prevention and just overall good health.)
Our region had the standard menu of cookies this year, so I only learned on Friday that another cookie – with “health benefits” – was being offered in some parts of the country. The Mango Creme Cookie comes with a creme filling apparently enhanced with nutrients, which, according to the promotional blurb “offer the benefits of eating cranberries, pomegranates, oranges, grapes and strawberries.” Continue reading
I’m a mother who works for a cancer prevention charity. I’m a mother who knows that breastfeeding is one of our strongest weapons to protect both the mother and child from cancer later in life. And I’m a mother who struggled to follow AICR’s recommendation to breastfeed infants exclusively up to six months.
What’s made me think about this is New York City’s initiative in participating hospitals to restrict access to infant formula in an effort to encourage breast feeding, and whether this is helpful or intrusive? Here’s one article on the program.
On paper – promoting and encouraging breastfeeding is an easy public health fix. Breast milk is free, portable and always at the right temperature. The reality is more complex.
First, not all women are able to breastfeed – infections, sick infants and difficult home environments are just some of the barriers that make it impossible. Second, our physical environment does not always support women breastfeeding outside the home. The dearth of appropriate facilities and sometimes hostile attitudes makes it difficult for mothers – especially those with older children who cannot be housebound. Third, many women simply cannot afford to be without a paycheck for 6 months and manage the considerable challenge of pumping and freezing sufficient breast milk. Continue reading