What is the purpose of food stamps? How important is a healthy diet? Today we learn about what some people in Sacramento think on these topics.
The American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation, conducted a study in which they determined that children who follow the guidelines of seven key health factors reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease and later heart complications.
- Abstaining from tobacco products
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Performing 60 minutes of moderate to severe cardiovascular exercise every day
- Eating a wholesome and nutritious diet
- Having a good cholesterol level
- Having a good blood sugar level
- Having a good blood glucose level
“Engaging in these ideal health behaviors early in life can have a tremendous benefit on maintaining ideal health throughout the lifespan,” said Julia Steinberger, Researcher at the University of Minnesota, in Circulation.
Studies from the journal found that a surprisingly high amount of children and teens failed to meet the standards for all or most of the seven key factors of healthy cardiovascular health.
The journal reveals a large discrepancy in the recommended amount of daily exercise also recorded, which is hardly complimented by the ninety-one percent of adolescents getting the majority of their daily calories from simple carbohydrates with little to no nutritional value, like processed foods and sugary beverages.
Virginia Tech University recently released a study finding that reducing one’s intake of sugary drinks by a factor of at least one a day provides numerous health benefits.
The detrimental calories not only increase one’s chances of weight gain, but also obesity and type two diabetes, both amounting to near epidemic numbers in America.
The California Soda Tax is just one example of community efforts to curb sugary drink consumption so as to prevent the mortal diseases associated with it.
Improve one’s diet can be the first step of Seven to reducing one’s risk of deadly diseases and improving children’s and adult’s health alike.
Last month, the city of Philadelphia took a huge step forward for a large U.S. city by passing health related legislation in the form of a soda tax. The city of Brotherly Love followed in the footsteps of the modestly-sized city of Berkeley, which back in November of 2015 passed Measure D, an initiative to implement a soda tax.
As diabetes has increased in the United States over the past 15 years, it is becoming more important to understand that besides healthy living habits by individuals, health related policies enacted by legislative bodies could be another stepping stone in finding solutions to the obesity epidemic. The amount of sugar contained in soda and other readily available drinks is alarming and many of these types of beverages tend to be cheaper than water, making people with a low socioeconomic status more likely to choose the more affordable product. Although such a move locally would probably be an uphill battle against “big soda” who shells out large amounts of money for lobbying, a soda tax could be beneficial to Sacramento and its residents.
The Ecology Center in Berkeley is a nonprofit organization that focuses on health and environmental related issues in urban areas. The organization’s executive director, Martin Bourque, was heavily involved in the Berkeley Soda Tax campaign. Bourque made it clear that fighting against big corporations might be tough, but that it is very possible with the right group of people.
“Our best advice is to build a community coalition as early as possible,” Bourque said. “The coalition needs to stick together, identify the opposition, and hold them responsible for the harm they are causing. Be sure that your coalition includes people from the demographics hardest hit by the diseases associated with sugary beverages. Their families have suffered the most, and their stories touch on our common humanity.”
Sugary beverages can lead not just to diabetes and obesity, but also high blood pressure, heart disease, and other serious, sometimes fatal health issues. Those who are against the tax, would rather consumers focus on other ways to prevent these preventable diseases and think that additional fees should take a backseat to other options.
This November, San Francisco will be the next large city to get a chance to vote on a soda tax with opposition groups digging in for a fight.
“At a time when there are more pressing issues to address in San Francisco, such as crime, cost of living and homelessness, there are higher priorities for local government than regulating our food and beverage choices,” said Joe Arellano, the spokesman for the No SF Grocery Tax. “Our elected leaders should be focused on the issues that matter most to San Francisco residents and businesses, instead of making it harder and more expensive for grocers and small businesses.”
While few would argue that crime, the cost of living, and homelessness are all not important to focus on with legislation, over one-third of the entire population in America is currently living with obesity, making the creation of policies to encourage healthier decisions a real necessity, even though not everybody agrees.
“A tax is the wrong approach to solving the obesity challenge,” says Arellano. “In fact, soda consumption has gone down in recent years, while the rate of obesity has increased. Obesity and diabetes are very complex diseases that can’t be solved by focusing on one food or beverage. Taxes don’t make people healthy, only diet and exercise can do that.”
Even though diet and exercise are crucial to living healthy, many people find that a healthier diet can be more difficult to maintain when it is less affordable, given that soda is a cheaper than many healthier options. While a tax alone may not be able to solve obesity and diabetes by itself, many believe that it is at least starting point. Plus, the tax money in Berkeley from revenues generated by their soda tax has gone to programs to help combat youth obesity and other similar efforts and Sacramento could use a tax in the same way.
“So far, the tax has generated $1.5 million,” Bourque said. “That has been disbursed to Berkeley Unified School District for its gardening and cooking programs, plus a new round of community grants for education focused on those most impacted by big soda marketing.”
According to an L.A. Times article by Patrick McGreevy, California lawmakers wish to enforce what they refer to as a “healthy impact fee” of two cents per ounce on soda and other sugary beverages in an effort to fight a current diabetes epidemic in the state.
Another article on Techtimes.com by Rina Marie Doctor states that nearly half of Californian adults are prediabetic. Many factors contribute to the widespread diabetes, including lack of free time, sleep, access to safe play places, food deserts, and more. However, simply decreasing soda consumption could drastically decrease ones risk of obtaining obesity as a study according to a study on Harvard School of Public Health entitled Sugary Drinks and Obesity Fact Sheet found. That paper said that for each additional 12-ounce soda consumed per day, a person increased their risk for obtaining obesity by sixty percent.
The tax will hopefully force younger people to consume less unhealthy beverages as it won’t be as affordable. Hopefully, the tax can indirectly be a contribution in terms of increasing self esteem in children as well. A study by Eureka Alert entitled “Obesity Can Be Harmful To Your Child’s Mental Health” states that obese girls between the ages of thirteen and fourteen are four times more likely to experience low self esteem than non-obese girls. The same article also states that both obese boys and girls are more likely to suffer from loneliness, sadness, and nervousness.
“As a practicing child psychiatrist, I see a clear association between obesity and depression and anxiety disorders among children and teens,” says David Fassler, M.D., an APA Trustee and child and adolescent psychiatrist from the Eureka Alert entitled Obesity Can Be Harmful To Your Child’s Mental Health by the America Psychiatric Association.
In addition, the expected $2 billion raised from this “healthy impact fee”, as stated by the L.A. Times article by Patrick McGreevy, is intended to go towards counties, cities, community-based organizations and licensed clinics in creating and maintaining obesity and diabetes prevention programs.
With obesity and diabetes heavily affecting today’s youth in a negative way, there is absolutely no doubt that action must be taken to prevent the further spread of obesity and diabetes. However, is simply taxing soda the right way in going about this prevention? Healthier choices are already voiced by many but they are often not chosen because they are too expensive. Reducing the cost of healthier choices instead of increasing the cost of unhealthy choices could also be part of the answer to solve the epidemic on the horizon.
California lawmakers Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg, have put together legislation to impose a two-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks meaning that the prices for soda would increase.
The New York Times released an article on August 9th stating that Coca Cola is now backing up a new scientific theory which states “to maintain a healthy weight, get more exercise and worry less about cutting calories.”
Coca Cola has teamed up with scientists that are now sharing this theory on social media pages, at conventions, and in medical journals. They are also supporting a nonprofit organization, the Global Energy Balance Network, which supports the theory.
Many don’t agree with this new theory, calling the sugary beverage the cause of certain medical illnesses and problems like diabetes.
“It’s a two sided solution, we need to eat less empty calories and exercise is (also) a part of it.” said Ana Sanchez, a primary care provider in Sacramento.
The reason for this new theory might be a product of the plummeting soda sales that Coca Cola is now experiencing.
“The (sales) numbers are going to decrease,” said Sanchez. “That’s what is going to happen to sugary drinks like Coca Cola. The more we know the less people are going to drink it, that’s why Coca Cola doesn’t want to lose the money. Many people are not drinking soda or they are more careful with soda these days.”
Read the New York Times article by clicking the hyperlink and feel free to add your opinions in the comment section below.
Welcome to the first episode of the newly-named AccessLocal.Tv youth podcast, “Youth Reigns” where our motto is “Where Young Voices Rule.” On this show, the Neighborhood News Correspondents discuss healthy habits and what barriers exist between young people and healthy foods. Feel free to chime in with your opinion on the discussion in the comment section below!
Having safe and clean, water to drink is considered to be a human right, so it may come as a shock to learn that more than a million Californians don’t get drinkable water in their homes. And when drinking water isn’t readily available, struggling families often turn to cheap, sugary drinks instead. However, when a child drinks just one of those drinks a day, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes skyrockets. On January 7th, renowned chef and food educator Jamie Oliver returned to Sacramento as part of a continuing effort to reverse those statistics.
A press conference, held on the south steps of the State Capitol, began with an introduction by Daniel Zingale, Senior Vice President of the California Endowment. With an inflatable soda can labelled “Diabetes” in the background, poet Obasi Davis followed with an impassioned spoken word on the dangers of this “tasty poison.” Davis warned onlookers of the sinister side of soda, backed by corporations taking advantage of impressionable youth.
After Davis, Jamie Oliver, host of Food Network’s “The Naked Chef,” stepped up to the microphones and cameras. Oliver’s focus was on the appalling lack of clean water in many parts of the state, not to mention the country. Together with the final speaker, State Senator Bill Monning, they highlighted an idea that would warn consumers of the dangers of soda in the same way as the Surgeon General’s warning on tobacco products. Their stance is that the consumer has the right to know the consequences of drinking so-called “junk drinks”, given the fact that they are widespread and have been linked to what Monning has called a “public health epidemic.”
The proposed label would be simple: “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.” To the speakers at Wednesday’s press conference, as well as many others, warning labels on junk drinks are an effective strategy, or at the very least a good start. Even simpler changes, like changes measurements on food packaging from grams to teaspoons, can make it easier for people to understand what they are putting into their bodies.
One of the more distressing points Oliver made was the fact that while over a thousand Americans have had a leg amputation as a result of injury from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, over 70,000 people in California alone have had a leg amputation from complications of diabetes in the same time frame.
“This is a third world problem in the most important economy in the world,” said Jamie Oliver of the lack of clean water in the U.S. Bringing that water to the millions of people who still need it will be a challenge, but in the meantime, making it easier for them to make healthy choices can make a world of difference too. To speakers Zingale, Davis, Monning, and Oliver, the fight against “Big Soda” begins with knowledge, knowledge that the public needs to take responsibility for their health choices.
According to a recent poll sponsored by the California Endowment, two out of three voters believe that beverages with high amounts of sugar should have higher taxes, with proceeds redistributed to healthier school lunches and better physical activity programs.
As the weather of spring approaches, many people find themselves cooling themselves down with a nice cold beverage. More times than not this cold beverage consists of some sort of sugary drinks. While I’m sure at the moment it seem like nothing, but before you took a sip have you ever wondered what that sugary drink is really doing to you?
Time Magazine reported that in 2010 alone “researchers reported that 25,000 deaths were linked to sugary beverages.”
Soda is now presenting itself in a way that is new to the public; it is a nice refreshing beverage, but with time it can also mean death. This process does not happen overnight. You don’t go and enjoy a soda at lunch, and then take your last breath tomorrow. There is a process, or certain effects soda has on one’s body. These include heart complications and the most commonly known, obesity. These are very serious health concerns that many people find themselves suffering from.
One fifth of Sacramento residents are considered to be obese, according to Find the Data. It’s easy to assume that soda consumption plays a part for that figure. Some might say it plays the biggest part of it.
Even with the overwhelming statistical data some people might ignore the toll soda can take on their health.
Linda Corona, a Sacramento resident and soda drinker, says that on average she consumes about two sodas each day. While that may be a lot for some people, she considers it an improvement.
“Before, I would drink up to five sodas a day,” says Corona.
“I am not addicted to soda, and quitting would be easy,” says Corona. “It wouldn’t be like quitting coffee. Now that would be hard.”
The long-term effects of soda on the residents of Sacramento is obvious. Isn’t it time to really do something about it?