TEDMED and Fenton Communications film “perspectives” series

One of TEDMED’s goals is to gather and broadcast diverse views on complex issues. TEDMED and Fenton Communications today brought a few Great Challenge Advocates, Delegates and Speakers together to talk one-on-one about the intersection of different health topics ranging from end-of-life care and community, poverty and health, to innovation and “real age.”

Outtakes: Lisa Witter of Fenton sat down with David Ludwig, M.D., Ph.D., Director, New Balance Obesity Prevention Center Boston Children’s Hospital, and Tracie McMillan, author of the book, “The American Way of Eating,” to talk about obesity and food as a social good. A good bit of the conversation centered on childhood obesity; as Ludwig pointed out, being overweight as a child greatly increases not only the risk of being overweight or obese as an adult, but also of related health issues — leading to a lifetime of bad health.  Fat cells may shrink, but they never leave.

What’s one piece of advice for parents, Witter asked, to promote healthy eating? The

A meeting of public health minds: John Lumpkin, Marc Hyman and Michael Roizen of the Cleveland Clinic, with Lisa Witter of Fenton.

first step is to tone down sweetened foods, Ludwig advised.

“When kids eat junk, they can’t appreciate the taste of unsweeted foods,” he said.

Did McMillan think change was possible?  “I’m cautiously optimistic, but as a journalist always a skeptic. But we are at least starting to realize the importance of diet,” she says.

Ludwig said, “I’m a short-term pessimist. Due to massive conflicts of interest on every level things are very difficult to improve. Grassroots efforts are going to take a while to coalesce,” he said.

Author and chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine Mark Hyman, M.D., sat down with John Lumpkin, health director for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to discuss community, poverty and health.

“Food is a social issue.  We don’t have enough to eat; we don’t have enough quality food; we don’t know how to eat; we don’t know how to cook.  This a root cause of our obesity crisis,” Hyman said.

The talks are being videotaped and will be available on the Fenton and TEDMED websites.