This Insurance Foundation Cares About After-School Programs. Just Ask the Group That Got $4 Million  – Children | Youth | Grants – Inside Philanthropy

It’s been a busy fall for After-Schools All-Stars (ASAS), the national organization which received a windfall back in March in the form of a multi-year $4 million dollar grant from the New York Life Insurance Foundation.

via This Insurance Foundation Cares About After-School Programs. Just Ask the Group That Got $4 Million  – Children | Youth | Grants – Inside Philanthropy.

Are Bikes a Way to Boost Youth? This Funder is Betting the Answer is Yes – Children | Youth | Grants – Inside Philanthropy

The M.J. Murdoch Charitable Trust recently gave a nice chunk of change to Bike Works in Seattle, seeing its work in youth development and physical education as a strong combination for helping young people to build practical skills and get active all at the same time.

via Are Bikes a Way to Boost Youth? This Funder is Betting the Answer is Yes – Children | Youth | Grants – Inside Philanthropy.

Should We Pay Doctors to Take Patients for Walks?

This is an interesting piece for the way it calls on us to shift our approach and pay doctors and other health care professionals to engage patients in prevention.  I have to ask, though:  what would the rate of reimbursement be for doctors taking patients for walks?

A Long View on Health Care – Think Like an Investor – NYTimes.com.

I have developed my own argument for how health care can be an important way to invest in economic development in our country.  More to come on that shortly.

Why is Youth Sports on the Decline?

Talking with a Cranston dad after church, he mentioned that our local Little Leagues are taking a hit in terms of enrollment, and have a smaller batch of teams this year.  I wondered if the trends went further than just Cranston and found this article:  Participation in youth sports on the decline | SouthCoastToday.com.  As you can see from the stats cited,  nationally baseball little leagues are down by 24% since 2000.  Basketball has also seen a reduction in numbers by about 9%.  Soccer is on the rise, and hockey looks like it is exploding.  But still, the overall numbers are down, since hockey is a relatively smaller sport than baseball or basketball.

So what gives?  Are we just a couch potato society where kids would prefer to stay home and play Nintendo and Wii?  Is it the competition from other activities like karate and drama clubs?  Or is this a result of families in the middle class simply not having the resources, especially since the economic collapse of 2008, to put toward their children’s athletic development?

All Hail the Rail Trail!

When my body and spirit grow restless, I like to walk. A 30-60 minute ramble loosens the kinks from head to toe. I am fortunate to live close to the Manhan Rail Trail, which is my favorite local spot for perambulation. (That’s right. I said, “perambulation.” I like to trot out the fancy words once in a while, lest they feel neglected.)

I am rather fond of rail trails. Like urban community gardens sprouting upon abandoned lots, they are a fine example of reclaimed space. Everyone benefits from their presence. To show my support for such ventures, I contribute to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, an organization “whose mission it is to create a nationwide network of trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors to build healthier places for healthier people.” It’s a great cause and generally free of political controversy, which is a plus. (Of course, I’m sure there are some conservative wingnuts somewhere who believe that the reclamation of abandoned rail corridors is further evidence of a communist plot perpetrated by our socialist president to create a Muslim theocracy and destroy our way of life as we know it.)

In the summer, the best times to stroll the Manhan Rail Trail are early morning and early evening, when the temperatures are more moderate and the critters are out and about. Yesterday evening, I thought I spotted a fox dashing across the trail and did see a rabbit, which kindly posed for pictures. Here are a few photographs from yesterday’s jaunt:

Rabbit on the rail trail
Long-legged spider along the rail trail
Canoers on Lower Mill Pond
Drunes from a Staghorn Sumac

What My Doctor Prescribed

Regular readers will be shocked to hear that Ninjanurse, on her last physical exam, was not found to be in perfect health. Sitting in a car for half the work day, fighting the traffic up and down Rt.95 in a car the size of a golf cart, followed by a relaxing few hours of pointing and clicking on the net does not tone up your cardiovascular. My breakfast of a pot of coffee in the morning and the Ben and Jerry’s at night have not been conducive to weight control.

This is harsh, and grossly unfair, but there it is. My doctor called me into his office and gave me a prescription for Vitamin-Ex.

I really appreciate a doctor who would rather prescribe common sense than another pill. Prescription drugs are lifesaving if they’re used wisely, but they’re not a substitute for eating right and exercising. Let me note that there is not a big lobby for integrating activity into daily life. A physical therapist once said to me, ‘if it’s physical, it’s therapy’. But you won’t see a commercial urging you to ‘ask your doctor’ for a bike path.

My doctor doesn’t get free pens and sticky notes, much less free lunches, for prescribing Vitamin-Ex–in fact he could make more money if he didn’t take the time to counsel his patients on health.

If you want to know more, visit Dr. Berg on Vitamin-Ex. Tell him Ninjanurse sent you.