In America today we live in a culture that fosters eating…at every moment of the day.
1 in 3 children born in the year 2000will become obese in their lifetime.
ObesityDisproportionatelyEffects YoungPeople of Color
Youth who are significantly overweight are at much greater risk for:• Digestive Disorders• Heart Illnesses• Respiratory Problems• Depression• Mental Illness• Type 2 DiabetesMany of these diseases where previously only seen in adult populations
This generation will be the 1st in history to have a lower life expectancy than their parents.
According to experts:• Cut Backs in Physical Education Programs• A Rise in Children Eating-out; Fast-food, Convenience Food and Processed Foods• Decline in the Relative Cost of Food• Increased Availability of Snacks and Sodas In Public Schools Are the biggest contributing factors to these alarming health trends.
There Are No Federal Laws Requiring Physical Education In SchoolsCurrently in the United States:• 4% of Elementary Schools,• 8% of Middle Schools, and• 2% of High Schools Provide Daily Physical Education
Pernicious, Powerful and Predatory Advertising of High-Calorie, Low-Nutrient Foods is a Huge Part of the Problem…
“Kidfluence”• In 2002, children age 4-12 were spending $30 billion in direct purchasing, nearly 5 times as much as they spent in in 1989• Between 1999 and 2004 alone, teenage spending increased close to 40% from $122 billion to $169 billion.
• Based on a 2005 study, the Institute of Medicine determined: “food and beverage marketing influences preferences and purchases and is a likely contributor to health outcomes and risk among children and youth”• In 2006 the Department of Health and Human Services urged that companies engage in more responsible production, packaging and marketing practices
In response, food and beverage companies began “self regulation” claiming to add more healthy ingredients to already unhealthy products... …the problem is, self regulation allows companies to simply makes the problem “less bad” as opposed to working towards actual solutions to child obesity problems.
In May of 2006, Pepsi, Coke and Schweppes,working with former President Clinton, agreed to stop selling their soft drinks in schools. These same companies also own all of the sugary sports and juice drink brands, which were excluded from the deal; so for them, this meant nothing more than changing out the vending machines…
Over 99% of US Schools Participate in the National School Lunch Program• Food Consumed at School Represents 40-50% of Childrens Caloric Intake• 94% of Schools Serve Food That Failed to Meet USDA Standards• 80% of the Food Served in Schools is Above the Recommended Amount of Saturated Fat
88.9% of Parents Surveyed Believed The School Lunch Food Served is “Somewhat” or “Very Healthy”
In 2010, President Obama Signed Into Law The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act Which:• Develops higher nutrition based on recommendations from the Institute of Medicine• Doubles the amount of fruit served at breakfast• Increases the quality of vegetables in lunch and requires the servings of dark green and orange varieties• Permits potatoes to substituted as vegetables but limits it to twice a week• Immediately requires that 50% of the grains served be whole grains increasing to 100% in two years• Reduces sodium in lunches by 53% over the course of ten years• Reduces saturated fat to 10% of all the calories served in week• Requires any chocolate milk served in schools be fat-free
Soon After the Signing Congress, Under PressureFrom the Potato Lobby, Made Drastic Changes to the Bill: • Keeping Daily Serving of French Fries on the Menu • Delaying the Boosting of Whole Grains, and • Allowing Tomato Paste on Pizza to be Called a Vegetable
No Matter if the Issue is Being Shapedby Corporate Interests orGovernmental Regulation……It’s All Still Adults Imposing Their Will and Acting upon Children and Young People.
Youth Have a Critical Role in Solving this Epidemic:But Certain Empowerments Must be Present: • Youth Must Feel a Sense of Agency- That They Can Make an Impact on Their Own Lives and the Lives of Their Peers. • They Must Develop Socio-Politically- Understanding the Larger Forces at Play in the Situation and the Power Their Demographic Possesses to Influence the Larger Context • Developing Youth Leadership- Young People Must Have a Platform and a Comfort Using Their Voice and Deeds to Lead Peers.
Youth L.E.A.D Miami (Youth LeadingEnvironmental Action through Democracy) is an Incredible Model for Youth Empowerments Around Health and Wellness
During a 12 week program, Youth L.E.A.D.educates and empowers young people to adopthealthy, sustainable behaviors and advocate for food & environmental justice in their schools and communities.
Their Approach Incorporates SocialJustice Youth Development Strategies:• Facilitate Youth to be Critical Thinkers about Food Choices• Encourage Youth to Educate Their Parents, Friends and Fellow Community Members• Learn to Question What They Are Told by Adults and the Media• Compare Food Quality and Price• Reflect on What They Learn by Blogging• Incorporate Aspects of Their Culture into the Program
Youth L.E.A.D Sees “Kids” as a Resource:• Upon Completion of the 12 WeekProgram, all Graduates of Youth L.E.A.Dare Employed and Paid to Work atFarmers Markets in Miami• Returning Graduates Participate in aPeer Mentor Program Where They arePaid to Recruit Peers, Amongst OtherCrucial Roles, are Seen as anInvestment in the Future of theOrganization Who Will One Day Fill theRoles of the Adults at Youth L.E.A.D
If We Are to Solve the YouthObesity Problem in Our Country,Young People Will Need to be a Part of the Solution
“Nothing is more important in our national life than the welfare of our children, and proper nourishment comes first in attaining this welfare.”-President Harry S. Truman, 1946