Throughout California, low-income public-school students are guaranteed at least one free or low-cost healthy meal each school day. That same law doesn’t apply to public preschools or to child care programs operated by school districts or county offices of education that serve low-income children. But that could soon change.
When the Chula Vista Elementary School District south of San Diego surveyed the physical condition of the 25,000 students enrolled in 2010, the results were worrisome. About 40 percent of the kids were at an unhealthy weight – with the highest rates among fifth and sixth graders.
For the first time, American’s official dietary guidelines this year have new advice for the nation: eat less food.
If there were still any doubt that the healthy foods movement has reached critical mass, it was dispelled Thursday when Walmart jumped on the bandwagon with promises to improve the nutritional content of food it sells in its superstores. The retail giant vowed to force its suppliers to reduce the sugar and sodium content of the food it sells and eliminate trans fats from the products on its shelves. The company also pledged to bring down the price of healthy foods so that they are on par with less healthy fare.
In many low-income communities, nutritious foods are hard to come by and liquor, cigarettes and processed foods dominate the shelves of the local corner markets. Now state and federal initiatives are in the works to help locate more full-service grocery stories in those communities and give the smaller stores an incentive to carry more nutritious products.
A record number of US adults are now obese, with 2 million more people crossing that unhealthy weight threshold between 2007 and 2009, according to new numbers released by the US Centers for Disease Control. California’s obesity rate is 24.8 percent, which is below the US average but higher than 16 other states.
Farmers markets across California are reaching out to low-income residents with programs that allow food stamps and WIC vouchers to be exchanged for fresh produce.
A healthy lifestyle starts with healthy food choices, but for some people, finding healthy food can be a big challenge.
San Jose pediatrician Daniel Delgado has a big problem. His young patients – all from low-income families – are overweight or obese and in danger of developing diabetes. Many don’t have access to the fresh fruits and vegetables vital for better nutrition. How to connect his patients with the foods they so desperately need?
Joanne Neft has been eating local since before it was hip. As founder of the Placer County farmers market, it was just what she did. Nearly every Saturday in Auburn, rain or shine, hot or cold, for 20 years Neft has been there, filling bags with fruits and vegetables and plenty of meat to grace her table for the week to come. Now the rest of the world is catching up with Neft, and she welcomes the company.