Health Policy

Deep Fried Fat

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March 2  |  Education, Health Policy  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Deep Fried Fat.

When I was a kid, the three words I heard most often from my mom were “eat your veggies.” I was fortunate to grow up in a middle-class home that focused on healthy foods and had the income to provide them.

Sadly, in many of our poorest neighborhoods, healthy food choices are less common, and foods often offered in our school cafeterias emphasize less healthy fare. “Eat your veggies” is all too often replaced with “deep fried fat.”

With your help, we are changing the game.

Our Silicon Valley Leadership Group Foundation, in partnership with Lam Research, is providing our schools and students with better options, through our “Salad Bars for Schools” initiative, funded through our Lam Research “Heart & Soles 5K” run or walk.

On Saturday morning, March 12th, at beautiful Lake Cunningham Park in East San Jose, please join me, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, State Assemblywoman Nora Campos, County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, Vice Mayor Rose Herrera, City Councilman Ash Kalra, Lam Research CEO Martin Anstice, and County Office of Education Superintendent Jon Gundry for our 5K run or walk. Registration is easy here.

Context: In just the past two years, thanks to the generosity of our title sponsor Lam Research, The Health Trust and dozens of Leadership Group member company CEOs, we have already funded salad bars in 120 Silicon Valley schools, providing fresh fruits and vegetables every school day to 97,000 local students. This year, our ambitious goal is to provide salad bars to another 70 local schools, serving nearly 50,000 more kids.

Please join us. Bring family and friends. To meet our goal, we need at least 2,000 paid registrations for our 5K run or walk. Please register here today. If you cannot come, but want to contribute, you can do so at our “Heart & Soles 5K” website at

Thanks for your support. I look forward to seeing you Saturday morning, March 12.

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How Old Are You – Really?

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February 25  |  Health Policy  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

I recently read an article in a major magazine proclaiming that kids born today could have a life expectancy up to 140 years old.

It reminded me of a wonderful quote, paraphrased as follows: Our existence isn’t just measured in the years of our life, but the life in our years.

One of the men I admire most is the founder and CEO of Empire Broadcasting, Bob Kieve, with radio stations KLIV and KRTY. Bob turned 93 years last December. 93.

Yet every day, Bob Kieve is one of the first to arrive and the last to leave his job at Empire Broadcasting. He is a key leader in the San Jose Rotary Club; serves on the Board of the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce and on our Foundation Board here at the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. Besides taking great care of himself, and obviously fantastic DNA, I have more than once wondered how Bob has maintained such amazing health. My theory? He is curious. Bob loves to learn. He will often listen to my radio talk show, especially when I have a guest on the air with whom he might not particularly agree. Rather than shut that divergent voice out, Bob leans in. He listens, learns and continues to grow.

There are other people I know who are young in years but old in outlook. They are angry, upset, bitter rather than better; and it reflects in both their appearance and attitude. They are old at heart, in body and in their minds. Even if they live a long time, the joy is gone from their eyes.

So I ask again – How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? There is a web site worth visiting: Check it out. How old are you – really?

Remember, life is not about “growing old” or even “growing up.” Life, simply put, is about growing.

Abolish the Tax on Medical Devices

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October 16  |  Health Policy, Tax Policy  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Taxing Innovation Tempers Job Creation.

One of the most troubling elements of the Affordable Care Act, known also as Obamacare, was the tax imposed on America’s medical device companies. Since this $29 billion tax on innovation was passed in 2010, large numbers of Senate and House members, Democrats and Republicans, have spoken out against it. Sadly, unless this destructive tax is repealed, the damage remains. Allow me to count the ways:

  • First, the $29 billion tax on America’s medical device companies applies to a company’s revenues – not their profits – which hurts small and entrepreneurial employers especially hard.
  • Second, at 2.3 percent of revenue the amount of the tax is troubling. For every $100 in revenue, the tax is $2.30, even if the company makes no profit.
  • Third, dollars are finite. The tax leaves less money for research and development, hiring employees, clinical trials and manufacturing.
  • Fourth, more than 400,000 Americans are employed by our robust medical device industry. Since 80 percent of medical device companies have fewer than 50 employees, we place thousands of small, innovative employers at risk.
  • Finally, the innovation derived from our medical device companies save lives, extend lives and improve the quality of our lives. Think artificial knees and hips, imaging machines, arterial stents and numerous other breakthroughs, jeopardized by a tax on innovation.

For those in Congress who have over-reached in their desire to abolish Obamacare, let it go. But for those in the House and Senate who would bypass this opportunity to abolish a damaging and destructive tax on innovation, let’s fix what should never have been enacted.

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Childhood Obesity Rates Are Down – More Work to be Done

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August 21  |  Education, Health Policy  |   Carl Guardino

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the percentage of low-income obese children ages 2 to 4 dipped in California from 17.3 percent to 16.8 percent.

Childhood obesity rates went down in 19 states, up in three states and stayed the same in 20 states.

For the math majors who noted the new study only accounts for 42 of the 50 states, the CDC reports that eight states were not included in the study.

Setting aside how troubled I am that any child could be obese – let alone more than 17 percent of the Golden State’s 2-to-4-year-olds – let’s talk about how progress is being made:

  • First, more health care institutions offer weight-management programs, including increased exercise and portion control.
  • Second, better food choices are being offered in schools.

It’s the second area – food choices in schools – where we can all play a role at the local and statewide level. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group is increasing its focus here. In-depth discussions continue with California’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction about how we can ensure that Silicon Valley kids can choose something other than “deep fried fat” in the school cafeteria, and that healthy foods and snacks are presented in a desirable way to capture the attention of our kids. You should speak to your local school and school board about this, too.

Bluntly, our kids deserve a better start – because where you start often determines where you end up. Children are five times more likely to be obese as adults if they were obese as a child. Now that’s a reality we need to digest.

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