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If you want to read an interesting first-person account of childhood obesity, check out:


rebecca rabinowitz

Dear Mr. Barrios,

I'm a big fan of yours and I appreciate your work.

On this topic, I'd like to ask you to consider a different angle. Much science these days is questioning the equation of fatness=unhealthiness (or health risk). All of the specific diet tips you mention are healthy -- but fat people and thin people need them equally, and you can't always tell who is eating healthfully by their body size.

I strongly urge you (or someone in your office) to read The Obesity Myth by Paul Campos. It accessibly and unquestionably debunks the notion that fatness is the health risk our society assumes it to be. It reveals the flaws in the scientific studies, and it reveals who funds those studies. Even C. Everett Coop's "Shape Up America" research was funded by weight-loss corporations.

Healthy eating and exercise are terrific -- needed equally by fat and thin people. You can't tell who's doing what by looking at their body. Fat people suffer widespread discrimination, and it would be a small step towards challenging that discrimination if you were to look into this idea, and perhaps change your angle on the topic.

Rebecca Rabinowitz, loyal constituent

Kathleen Powers

guest post from Kathleen Powers

I say potato, you say batata

I went shopping with Jarrett Barrios to continue my Market Basket education. This started close to 20 years ago when I would look forlornly at plantains and yucas in the produce section and someone very nice from Haiti or Columbia or Cape Verde would explain how to cook whatever it was I was trying to figure out.

Then when I was asked to blog about our recent shopping trip, I was trying to think what Web site I could link to that would explain what a yuca or a batata is. (They're used like potatoes in the U.S., but being from the sweet potato family, they're healthier.) But just surfing for a Web site doesn't really explain the powerful connection talking over food creates. This is why people break bread together. This is why there's nostalgia about mom's white bread sandwiches. And I think that's why eating habits are so very hard to change, even for folks committed to a really healthy diet.

But as my family loves to try new things, I made batata steak fries with carrot sauce for my family this weekend, and they were a hit. We're using my shopping trip as an opportunity to keep trying new things, and add new recipes to my little black box above my stove.

Check out SomervilleJournal.com for my recipe for mac & cheese with complete proteins. I just ask you send your recipe for whatever healthy your family eats to the Journal blog at http://blogs.townonline.com/somerville/?p=3962

And I promise, I'll give you credit in my black recipe box, right next to "Sen. Jarrett Barrios' sweet-potato steak fries."

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Office Hours

  • Somerville
    Last Friday of every month from 8:00-9:30 am at the Neighborhood Restaurant, 25 Bow Street in Union Square
  • Saugus
    3rd Tuesday of every month from 9:30-10:30 am at the Saugus Senior Center, 400 Central Street
  • Revere
    3rd Tuesday of every month from 8:00-9:00 am at Nick's Deli, Washington Ave
  • Everett
    1st Wednesday of each month from 8:00-9:00 am at Dunkin Donuts across from Pope John
  • Chelsea
    3rd Saturday of each month from 11:00am to 12:00 noon at Dunkin Donuts, Prattville
  • Charlestown
    2nd and 4th Wednesday of every month from 8:00-9:30 am at Dunkin Donuts, Bunker Hill Mall
  • Cambridge
    Last Sunday of each month from 8:00-9:30 am at Darwin's, 1629 Cambridge Street
  • Allston/Brighton
    3rd Thursday of every month from 8:30-9:30 am at the Dunkin Donuts, North Harvard Street
  • Senator Barrios Office Hours