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Saving Carla

On this week’s episode of Need to Know, we look at the story of one 10-year-old girl in the Bronx who is determined to overcome a troubling family legacy: four generations stricken with diabetes and obesity.

Carla Ellis and her family work against the odds in one of the poorest communities in the country to transform their eating habits. Our report considers the activist approach on childhood obesity taken by the New York City Health Department and one innovative hospital.

For more resources, download Kids Cook Monday Toolkit for Educators for free. Included in the kit are best practices and guidelines on how to encourage family dinners through after school classes.


  • James Vick

    I just watched the story about Carla and her mother and father. Having some small exposure to living in a “food desert” I was wondering if the city couldn’t be more active in initiating the use of rooftop gardens. Not all roofs are safe and accessible. But there are thousands of acres of rooftops in every city that go to waste. This could be an opportunity to put people to work at making these roofs into gardens that could feed and subsidize the families who live in those buildings. It could also build more of a sense of community. Who knows? Maybe Carla has a green thumb and doesn’t know it.

  • Parent Earth

    I think this is a great idea!  Urban gardens on rooftops can be tricky because they often need to  be reinforced to support the weight of dirt. There are also many empty lots that can become gardens. Gardens are a great way to get families outside moving and to teach about nutrition. We did a short video about Karen Washington in the Bronx who has built the Garden of Happiness in her community -
    She is working hard to build city support for community gardens. Check out the Black Farmers Urban Gardeners Conference if you are interested in connecting with this movement.

  • Redbmonkey

    A neglected factor in the discussion of diabetes and obesity [and probably the third rail of the issue] may be the effect of high fructose corn syrup [HFCS] on the body. I believe that the rise of obesity may be directly tied to the increased use of high fructose corn syrup by the beverage and food industry because it is cheaper to make and use than sugar. Childhood cirhosis of the liver may also be tied to this but researchers are intimidated in challenging mega-corporations who are ‘bundling’ fast food and beverages. From what I have learned the sugary HFCS acts more like alcohol and goes directly to the liver for conversion to fat.