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The U.S. Surgeon General Discusses Top Questions From Moms About the MMR Vaccine

We all want our children to be safe and healthy. Measles is a serious and highly contagious disease, but, fortunately, we can prevent it with immunizations. The measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine is safe and the best way to protect your child against measles and other diseases.

I understand that some parents are concerned about vaccines. The evidence about the vaccine’s safety and benefits is strong and consistent. There is a lot of inaccurate information circulating about the measles vaccine, so let’s make sure we separate the facts from the myths. If you have any concerns or questions, talk to your child’s health care provider.

In the meantime, here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions I get:

*How easy is it to get measles if you aren't vaccinated?

If you aren’t vaccinated and you are exposed to measles, you have a 90% chance of getting measles.

Make Me a Woman

One of my sheroes is Sojourner Truth. A brilliant but illiterate woman, she was a great orator and powerful presence who possessed great courage and determination. I often wear a pendant with her image and words: “If women want any rights more than they’s got, why don’t they just take them, and not be talking about it.” An unwavering defender of women’s rights and an abolitionist, Sojourner continues to fuel my determination to fight for equality for women, people of color, and children left behind. She was born into and lived nearly three decades in slavery but dedicated her life to combating slavery and gender inequality and second-class citizenship. She never gave up talking about or fighting for justice and equality.

#FoodFri Tweetchat: School Meals + Physical Activity? Yes, Schools Have Rules for That!

Did you know that every school is required to have a Wellness Policy, covering topics like school celebrations and rewards, physical activity, and nutrition education? It's true!  According to recent updates, schools also have to engage parents in the policies. This is a perfect opportunity for parents, like you and I, to get involved! 

To help you engage with your school, and learn more about the policies, MomsRising is holding a #FoodFri tweetchat this Friday, February 27, 2015, to discuss the updated School Wellness Policy rules.  Joining us on the chat will be @CSPI.

Feel free to ask questions, and share your tips, during the chat! We want to hear from YOU. 

Background:

Taking to the Hill to Defend Medicaid

On February 24th MomsRising volunteers and their kids went to Capitol Hill to deliver YOUR stories on Medicaid and meet with Senators and their staff to discuss the importance of Medicaid for families around the country. Along with the storybooks we delivered adorable rubber duckies….because Medicaid keeps families afloat!

Immigration Makes Guest Appearance at Oscars 2015: a MomsRising Blog Carnival

Actor Sean Penn’s ribbing of Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu -- "Who gave this son of a b**ch his green card?" -- may have been intended as a joke between two old friends, it had no place on this year’s Oscar stage. 

Oscar fact: Iñarritu is the 5th consecutive foreign-born person to win the best director award, although no other winner has been the butt of such a joke. Also, at a time when 11 million lives – three-quarters women and children – are in limbo due to Congress’s inaction on immigration, we need action, not jokes. That is why we have dedicated this space to talking about the real issues, real insights, and real complexities relating to  immigration, contemporary culture, and yes- to the Oscars, too.  

Please take a moment to leave comments and share the stories with your social media networks.

Good Food Force Update: School Breakfast, Black History Month G+ Hangout & more!

This week we're talking about the importance of healthy school breakfast, sharing Sunday food traditions, and announcing a special Google+ Hangout taking place next Tuesday night. Please read, share and stay awesome! Thank you!
 
1. HOT LINE
Learn & Spread the Word About the School Breakfast Program
You know the old saying: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This is especially true for school-aged children who are growing, learning, and trying to achieve. So what happens when they can’t get breakfast at home? Luckily we have the School Breakfast Program in more than 89,000 schools around the country. Children who qualify receive free or reduced-price breakfast that meets the new healthy meal guidelines in a school setting. Unfortunately, the School Breakfast Program isn’t feeding nearly as many low-income students as it should be... Find out what we can do to get more kids to participate on the blog. 
 
2.

Updating the Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide important recommendations on diet, nutrition and health, and serve as the foundation for federal food-assistance programs like SNAP (food stamps), WIC and school meals. The USDA and Department of Health and Human Services are expected to release updated guidelines by the end of this year; they were last updated in 2010. As part of the process, an Advisory Committee (DGAC) has just released a scientific report, which provides advice for the final policy report on essential nutrients, the importance of physical activity, sustainability, the food environment, and more.

The committee calls for "immediate attention and bold action" to address health challenges affecting the U.S. population, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Specific findings from the report: 

Victory! New Labor Rule Allows Employees Across the U.S. To Take FMLA Leave To Care for a Same-Sex Spouse

On Monday morning, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division issued a new rule allowing employees to take unpaid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave to care for their same-sex spouse, regardless of where the couple lives. Previously, employees were only eligible to take FMLA leave to care for a same-sex spouse if they lived in a state that recognized their marriage – meaning couples living in the states that do not recognize same-sex marriages could not access this critical benefit. Today, same-sex couples living in every state are permitted to take FMLA leave to care for one another, as long as their marriage was valid in the state where it was celebrated.

The Family and Medical Leave Act is the first and only federal law created to help American workers balance the demands of both their work and family. Under the law, employers with 50 or more employees are required to grant workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition. Since its passage in 1993, FMLA leave has been used by workers more than 200 million times – but was not fully accessible to LGBTQ workers until today.

Protect ALL kids from aggressive junk food marketing!

Take Action!

Did you know? Each year, U.S. food and beverage companies spend nearly $2 billion (Yes, that’s billion with a “b”!) marketing to children — and most ads promote unhealthy foods and drinks.*

Whether they're putting our kids' favorite characters on junk food packaging, sending special deals and invitations via mobile phones, or sponsoring school events and materials, companies are purposefully bypassing parents to cultivate our kids into what they hope will be lifelong consumers of unhealthy foods. Pretty scary, right?

*It’s time for this to change! Companies should not be attempting to bypass parents by marketing unhealthy soda, candy, chips, and other junk food directly to our kids. Please join me in asking them to stop: http://action.momsrising.org/sign/CFBAI2015/?source=blog.

On Infant Feeding: Research, Support and Community

Can you talk about your commitment to breastfeeding support, and how you began?

My interest and commitment to infant feeding support developed out of my clinical, graduate, and personal experiences.  As a public health nurse working with pregnant and parenting African American women and their families, I observed infant feeding disparities within our client population.  At intake, the majority of our clients would state an intention to exclusively breastfeed; however many clients encountered challenges (e.g. lack of support and limited resources) and were unable to successfully initiate or maintain breastfeeding for a significant amount of time.  Subsequently, I often dealt with the emotional ramifications of unsuccessful breastfeeding as clients would blame themselves or their bodies.  I became an IBCLC in an effort to better support my clients, their families, and the community.

What is an area of breastfeeding support that is being overlooked and what should be done about it?

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