Welcome to This Week in Equity Engagement on Twitter (TWEET) for the week of October 19, 2015. Another eventful week comes to a close, and we have some great social media resources for you. Check it out:
Another report that shows that soda taxes can be effective at reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.
Welcome to This Week in Equity Engagement on Twitter (TWEET) for the week of October 12, 2015. Yet again, there’s so much great work being done it’s hard to capture all of it, but I think we have a bunch of interesting topics this week. Check it out:
Public policy efforts are working to improve access to healthy food!
As most of California endures near-record high temperatures this week, it seems like an appropriate time to discuss the intersection of the state’s historic drought, climate, and equity. A new report from Wendy Ortiz at the Center for American Progress, Lessons on Climate Change and Poverty from the California Drought, makes these connections and shows that low-income areas and communities of color are disproportionately impacted by the ongoing drought and climate change in general.
In her report, Ortiz summarizes the inequities faced by communities of color and low-income people and discovers that climate change serves as an escalating factor for these conditions:
The enduring effects of racial segregation and the underinvestment in low-income communities — in California and elsewhere — have placed people of color and low-income people in environments that threaten their physical and emotional health. Low-income communities and communities of color are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to poor-quality housing and infrastructure, proximity to environmental hazards, and economic instability. Because these communities have been institutionally excluded from accruing wealth and assets — which are prominent indicators of a family’s ability to prepare for unexpected shocks — they are less able to survive and recover from disastrous events.
Each year, California Food Policy Advocates (CFPA) recognizes "Freshy Award" winners in acknowledgment of individual Californians, as well as organizations, from across the state who have worked diligently in the last year to improve CalFresh. The winners will be announced and recognized at the annual CalFresh Forum in October.
CFPA is accepting nominations for the 2015 Freshy Awards through this Friday, August 14th. The Freshy Award categories were established to encourage nominations across a number of CalFresh oriented professions, including advocates, administrators, elected officials, and more. We are collecting information about each nominee in order to develop a voting ballot that will be distributed in early August.
Each year, CFPA’s CalFresh Forum brings together hundreds of key stakeholders from across the state to identify opportunities and discuss strategies to improve the reach and impact of CalFresh. This year the CalFresh Forum will take place on October 1, 2015 in Sacramento, CA.
At CPEHN, we employ a “health in all policies” strategy for creating healthier environments that can advance health equity for California’s communities of color. One of the key goals of this strategy is to increase access to healthy foods, particularly in communities with fewer grocery stores and more fast food restaurants.
While it may seem minor, offering healthy options in vending machines is a significant part of a strategy to improve access to healthy food. State and local governments have considerable purchasing power, particularly in regards to vending machines. In its 2010 report, the Strategic Growth Council’s Health in all Policies Task Force recommended that government spending should be leveraged to support healthy eating and sustainable local food systems. In particular, the Task Force offered the following suggestions for healthy food procurement policies to ensure that foods purchased on public property meets minimum nutrition standards:
Obesity rates among California’s adult population are staggering, as seen in a recent study, Obesity in California, from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. This afternoon, the Center hosted a seminar to discuss some of the findings in the report and make the connection between social and environmental factors like safety and access to healthy foods and the rise in obesity rates.
While adults often reminisce about their care-free childhood summers, this time of year means a loss of critical resources for many kids across our state. Eighty percent of California students who rely on the health and academic benefits of free or reduced-price lunches during the school year miss out on similar meals during the summer. That results in a summer nutrition gap that cuts across our state, affecting nearly two million of our most vulnerable children.
Research and common sense tell us that kids need year-round access to nutritious meals. They need those meals to learn, grow, and achieve at their fullest potential. The good news: California’s summer nutrition gap is sizeable, but not inevitable.
Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) for Children is a well-tested solution that provides low-income families with nutrition assistance benefits to purchase food when school is out and students lose access to affordable school meals. Summer EBT has been found to:
Reduce food insecurity among children and their families,
Reduce consumption of sugars from sugar-sweetened beverages, and
Increase consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Summer EBT works, but it’s not yet at work everywhere, and California’s children lack access. Representative Susan Davis (CA-53) and Senator Patty Murray (WA) have introduced the Stop Child Summer Hunger Act of 2015 to make Summer EBT a reality for kids across the country.
In recent years, public health advocates have ramped up efforts to highlight the health consequences of consuming soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages. Today, those efforts yielded some success as San Francisco supervisors approved an ordinance that requires advertisements for sugary drinks to include warning labels about the products’ adverse health side effects.
The ordinance applies to all drinks, including soda and energy drinks, that include 25 or more calories from sweeteners per 12 ounces. Advertising methods impacted include billboards, buses, and taxis within the city limits, but not newspapers and the internet. Milk and 100% natural fruit juice are exempted from the ordinance.
The label for billboards and other ads would read: "WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message from the City and County of San Francisco…”
"These are not harmless products that taste good," said Supervisor Scott Wiener, who authored the soda warning proposal. "These are products that are making people sick and we need to take action."
The movement to alert consumers of the health dangers of sugar-sweetened beverages has been gaining steam in the Bay Area for some time. Last fall, voters in Berkeley approved a tax on the beverages in hopes of reducing consumption.
The consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is creating a health crisis in California. Tomorrow, the Assembly Health Committee will be voting on an important bill that will begin to address this crisis.
AB 1357 (Bloom) – The Children and Family Health Promotion Program – will create a dedicated revenue source to fund community clinics, school based health centers, and preventive programs to address the health impacts of sugar sweetened beverages. An estimated $3 billion dollars will be raised annually through a small 2 cent per ounce fee on sugar-sweetened beverages. These funds would help improve the health of our communities by preventing diabetes and other devastating health impacts in California’s most vulnerable communities.
If you live in the following areas, please call your Assemblymember TODAY and ask them to support AB 1357!
Autumn Burke – Inglewood – (916) 319-2062 Jimmy Gomez – Los Angeles (Northeast) – (916) 319-2051 Lorena Gonzalez – San Diego (Chula Vista) – (916) 319-2080 Roger Hernandez – West Covina – (916) 319-2048 Sebastian Ridley-Thomas – Culver City – (916) 319-2054 Freddie Rodriguez – Chino/Pomona – (916) 319-2052 Miguel Santiago – Los Angeles (Downtown) – (916) 319-2051