Civic Leaders Meet To Discuss Strategy To Curb Obesity
More than 20 civic leaders and state health officials on Friday met to discuss possible policies to reduce obesity and "concrete legislative strategies" to counter advertisements for unhealthy foods and beverages, the Contra Costa Times reports.
According to an analysis by Alexander Kelter of the Department of Health Services, more than 180,000 Californians will die from diabetes, a condition related to obesity, within the next 30 years. By comparison, 120,000 residents are expected to die in a major earthquake within the same time period, Kelter said. Kelter's figures do not include deaths from other obesity-related conditions, such as heart attack and strokes, according to the Times.
"The Big One won't be measured on the Richter scale; it'll be measured on the bathroom scale," he said at Friday's meeting, sponsored by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy.
Sen. Tom Torlakson (D-Concord) said lowering obesity rates will require an extensive campaign similar to past efforts to reduce drunken driving and smoking in the state. He added, "The numbers are startling. This needs to be a wake-up call for all of us."
Harold Goldstein of the CCPHA said schools should no longer accept sponsorship from food companies with unhealthy products. "It's just sending the wrong message. At least on public property, we shouldn't be doing junk food companies a favor and endorsing their products," he said.
Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia suggested enrolling eligible county residents in food stamp programs because people who participate in the programs tend to buy healthier foods (Felsenfeld, Contra Costa Times, 3/19).