Wednesday, October 12, 2011

You'll Like It Here (Everybody Does)

Can a middle grade novel about aliens inform us about how to stay healthy here on Earth?

Absolutely, and health information can come to a reader by way of plot and character, not information stuck in, like bitter vitamins, which, by the way, have been been in the news this week. Health alert: Taking too many vitamins and minerals (such as iron, magnesium, and copper) has been associated with a shorter life in women, though calcium is still has its place, as do prenatal vitamins with folate.

Health trends and medical care seems to always change. Some drugs and surgeries prescribed years ago by doctors, today are considered dangerous. Is there any good advice that doesn't change?

You'll Like It Here (Everybody Does) by Ruth White, author of Newbery Honor Book Belle Prater's Boy, is an engaging, action packed story about Maggie Blue and her alien family stuck in the dystopian place called "Fashion City"where citizens are pacified by drugs, and totally controlled by the benevolent "Fathers" who aren't so benevolent.  At age 65, Fashion City residents are bussed off on a vacation, and unbeknownst to them, done away with. A news video announces enthusiastically: "As everybody must know by now, it's Vacation 65 time again. . . . Today twenty-seven of our beloved seniors, upon reaching the age of sixty-five, found it was finally their turn to ride the white bus."

Oh no. Not the white bus!

But Maggie Blues beloved grandfather, who is unfortunately 65, has, throughout most of the novel, successfully lied about his age, says he's 60, and avoids the white bus till he is found out. Maggie tells her friend Jennifer: "'When it comes to feeling good . . , I always listen to Gramps's advice. . . he's the healthiest person I know.'" When Jennifer asks why he has so much energy, Maggie advises: '"Just the basics . . .Eat right and exercise.'" 

If you review some of the recent news stories discrediting the overuse of vitamins, you will find that most health professionals will agree that a healthy diet will supply the vitamins we need, and there is no shortage of information on healthy diets. And Gramps is wise to exercise as well. Anyone who is interested can find a doable exercise program.

Will eating right and exercising regularly guarantee a long healthy life? Of course not. However, it might increases your chances and, like Gramps, simply make you feel good.

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