While the partisan battle over healthcare in America rages, politicians on both sides of the aisle continue to ignore the role of health and wellness in our private lives and public policy. Every year, we spend billions of dollars treating deadly chronic diseases like Heart Disease, Diabetes, and Cancer – diseases that are linked to our lifestyle choices. Constant stress and limited access to nutritious food are leading us down a path of unhealthiness as a nation, and it’s killing us.
The solutions that will help us lead healthier, longer lives are out there. They come from our doctors, our farmers, our teachers, and our own bodies. In Congress, Tim worked to empower Americans to make the healthy choices that we all want to make. He has fought to end taxpayer subsidies for unhealthy processed food, and believes we must do more to support local farmers who grow the nutrient-rich produce that our bodies need.
In recent years, Tim has fostered a national conversation around mindfulness, the simple, but effective practice of taking time to be aware of what your body is feeling and what your mind is thinking. Mindfulness has been scientifically proven to reduce stress-related illnesses and boost productivity. From Google to General Mills, companies have found mindfulness boosts employee productivity and cuts workplace stress. It has also been shown to be an effective treatment component for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, and a stress-management tool for military service members.
In 2012, Tim published A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit. In it, Tim describes how we can live healthier lives and save taxpayer dollars by integrating mindfulness techniques into our schools, our healthcare system, and our social services. Watch the video below to learn more.
Lifelong wellness starts with the habits we develop as children. In Congress, Tim has worked to bring common-sense wellness practices to our schools. Building on the success of Youngstown and Warren City schools, Tim introduced legislation to encourage Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) in schools, which helps students develop important life skills including conflict resolution, relationship development, and decision-making. In Ohio, these successful programs have resulted in lower truancy rates, fewer behavioral problems, and a safer, healthier learning environment. Tim has also been a leader on school nutrition, introducing legislation that forges partnerships between schools and community organizations to provide healthier food options for our students.
Taking action on Wellness
- In 2011, Tim introduced the Academic, Social and Emotional Learning Act, which supports SEL programs in public schools. Working across the aisle, he was able to secure its inclusion in the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act, which was ultimately signed into law.
- Tim sponsored the Salad Bars in Schools Act to help provide the 32 million American children participating in the National School Lunch program with healthier eating options and nutrition education.
- To promote a shift in the healthcare system towards promoting wellness, Tim introduced the Expansion of Nutrition’s Role in Curricula and Healthcare (ENRICH) Act. This bipartisan bill helps medical schools develop wellness curriculum that promotes integrated nutrition and physical activity as part of patients’ treatment programs.
- In Congress, Tim holds weekly bipartisan mindfulness sessions in the House Chapel, where members of Congress can set aside partisan politics and focus inward. Tim finds these mindfulness meetings help members of Congress be better public servants by turning their attention away from the chaos of Washington and towards the important challenges facing our nation.