Welcome to This Week in Equity Engagement on Twitter (TWEET) for the week of September 21, 2015. This week was highlighted by National Voter Registration Day and some resources for Child Obesity Awareness Month. Let’s get to it:
The Afterschool Alliance has some great resources that point to the importance of physical activity in reducing childhood obesity.
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.
A couple weeks back, we wrote about how San Francisco took a key step toward reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages by passing an ordinance requiring warning labels on advertisements for the products. We also talked about ongoing efforts at the statewide level aimed at confronting the health crisis posed by sugary drinks. In particular, we pointed to two bills: SB 203 (Monning), which would have required warning labels similar to those passed in San Francisco, and AB 1357 (Bloom), which would have imposed a two cent per ounce fee on the distribution on the beverages. Unfortunately, both of these bills failed to pass through the legislature. But a new study out of Mexico might breathe new life into at least one of these efforts in the coming years.
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
On May 12th, the California Assembly Health Committee will hear a new bill seeking to address one of the major health crises of our time. AB 1357 (Bloom) – The Children and Family Health Promotion Program – will create a dedicated revenue source enabling California to start to address the diabetes epidemic that is impacting our communities with devastating consequences. Comprehensive prevention efforts to reduce the diabetes epidemic in California will be supported through a 2 cent per ounce fee on sugary drinks that are distributed in the state.
California must get out in front of this preventable disease that is disproportionately affecting communities of color.
To “get” diabetes in our communities has become normal. As I travel across California where we host regional meetings from as far north as Eureka to El Centro in the South and all points in between, it saddens me when I ask those in the audience to raise their hands if someone in their immediate family has diabetes. It saddens me even more when I ask them if they have diabetes and they answer me, “Not yet” or “Todavia no.”
We cannot afford to wait any longer to take action.
It is with genuine disappointment that we inform you that SB 203, the Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Labeling Bill, authored by Senator William Monning, and co-sponsored by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, Latino Health Access, and California Black Health Network, has failed in the Senate Health Committee with only four out of the nine Senators voting in our favor. Wednesday afternoon, Senator Ed Hernandez, Committee Chair, along with Senators Isadore Hall, Richard Roth, and Janet Nguyen abstained from voting while Senator Jim Nielsen voted against the Bill.
Senator Holly Mitchell made an impassioned, moving statement about the need for the Senate Health Committee and the Legislative body to reconcile their personal preferences with their legislative responsibility about obesity and diabetes. Kudos to Senator Mitchell for stepping up and for her support of this bill. CBHN was also very proud of our 2014 Heroes in Health Awardee, Senator Richard Pan, for his supportive public statements and prodding questions challenging the opposition. Additional thanks to Senator Lois Wolk, for her "Aye" vote, and of course, to Senator William Monning for authoring this bill.
Unfortunately, SB 203 (Monning) did not receive enough votes to make it out of Senate Health Committee. Our allies, and the bill's sponsor, the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, puts it best:
An immense disappointment. CA Senate Health members took step backward in pub. health & failed to pass #sodawarninglabel bill #SB203.
You can help advance legislation to stem the growth of diabetes and promote healthy options to consumers. Diabetes is now the seventh leading cause of death in California and continues to disproportionately impact communities of color. Two legislative proposals are seeking to help make consumers aware of the health problems associated with sugar-sweetened drinks and to promote healthy alternatives. Please send in your letter of support for AB 1357 (Bloom) and SB 203 (Monning).
Letters of support must be received by this Wednesday, April 15th, so please download and send in your letter TODAY.
Diabetes in California is reaching epidemic proportions. Over 2.3 million residents have been diagnosed with diabetes, with the majority suffering from type 2. Communities of color are disproportionately impacted by the disease, with Latinos and African Americans twice as likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and twice as likely to die from it.