A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

We need YOU to combat the obesity epidemic – Act FRESH

We need YOU to combat the obesity epidemic – Act FRESH

May 3, 2010

[Our guest blogger below is Valerie Bassett from the Massachusetts Public Health Association. We thank Valerie for the work of MPHA and look forward to active participation in their campaign]

We’ve all heard the stats:

  • Locally, one out of every three middle school or high school students in Massachusetts is overweight or obese, and half of Massachusetts adults. These rates are worse for low-income residents and people of color because they tend to live in neighborhoods with fewer resources for health.
  • Nationally, one out of every 10 health care dollars spent in the U.S. is spent directly on care for diabetes.
  • And the next generation of children may have a shorter lifespan than their parents, because of the toll on health from chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma, depression and heart disease.

Now, two pieces of good news. First, and most important, public health has solutions that can be implemented right now to make our children’s generation the healthiest generation. And public health has a track record that should inspire confidence: over the last century, public health strategies have doubled our expected lifespan.

Second, there’s a lot you can do. Start by getting involved in our Act FRESH (Fresh Environments Support Health) campaign. We want healthier community and transportation planning and we want physical activity back in schools, so we all have safe places to get moving. We want intentional food systems that support local economies and agriculture – bringing more outlets that sell fruits and vegetables into so-called “food deserts.” We want healthier requirements for the food served to children in schools -- and in all institutions. And we want a healthier tax code that doesn’t subsidize sweetened drinks with a sales tax exemption.

We also want your input as we build Act FRESH’s agenda for the 2011/2012 legislative session. Thanks to The Boston Foundation, which recently made a major investment in the Massachusetts Public Health Association, as well as our many other supporters, we have the means to build a robust campaign to make all Massachusetts communities places where the healthy choice is the easy choice.

But we can’t do it without you. Visit our website [www.mphaweb.org] and sign up to be a part of Act FRESH. And please support this work by coming to our Spring Awards Breakfast at the State Room this Friday May 7. See our website for details.