Poll: Calif. Kids’ Unhealthy Eating, Inactivity Are Top Health Concerns
Nearly 60% of California voters believe unhealthy eating and a lack of physical activity are the two top health risks for children in the state, according to a Field Poll conducted for the California Endowment, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Details of Poll
The poll surveyed 1,002 registered voters in the state from Nov. 14, 2013, to Dec. 5, 2013.
It found that 59% of California residents were worried about children's unhealthy eating and exercise habits today, compared with 53% who were concerned in 2003.
In addition, the poll found that:
- 43% of respondents believed that substance misuse was one of the top two health risks facing children in the state, compared with 49% in 2003;
- 31% were concerned about violence against children;
- 16% were concerned about alcohol use among children and adolescents, compared with 26% in 2003;
- 11% were concerned about children smoking, compared with 24% in 2003; and
- 10% were concerned about young people having unprotected sex, compared with 28% in 2003.
According to the Mercury News, California residents of varying races and income levels said it was important for communities to hire health workers to promote healthy lifestyles and help reduce diabetes in children. Specifically, the poll found that 73% of California voters see such workers as imperative to preventing and managing diabetes.
The survey also found that:
- 93% of those surveyed said they supported providing clean, fresh drinking water at no cost in schools where students eat or exercise;
- 85% said companies that provide healthy foods and beverages should make their products as affordable as possible;
- 81% said policies should be enacted to increase the availability of fresh foods and vegetables in low-income areas;
- 75% said companies should stop all marketing of unhealthy products to children;
- 67% said food and beverage companies should cut back on marketing unhealthy products, especially in low-income communities; and
- 60% said exercise and physical activity programs should be covered by Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program.
George Flores, with the California Endowment, said, "These findings are a clear indication that there is a longstanding groundswell of concern among California voters about the related epidemics of diabetes and obesity."
He added, "Voters strongly support interventions that will reduce risks for these conditions, such as access to free clean drinking water and community health workers to help people live healthier lives in healthier places" (Early, San Jose Mercury News, 2/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.