"Imagine a Child"
If the PSA inspires to take action NOW, the most effective course of "fast-acting advocacy" is to send your thoughts on the future of food policy directly to House Agriculture Committee as it prepares to write the next Farm Bill. Add your signature to our petition urging congress to enact a 2012 Farm Bill that restores a healthy food system
"Dear Representative Lucas,
On behalf of the at-risk families living in lower-income communities that suffer the consequences of poor access to affordable healthy food and nutritional education, I urge you to seize the immediate opportunity to directly impact the health of these residents, while also reducing their long-term cost burden to health care.
The Farm Bill legislation that will be considered by you for approval in 2012, with appropriate changes or enhancements, has the potential to impact childhood obesity, diabetes and heart disease in areas identified as having poor access to affordable healthy food (food deserts). Diabetes affects an estimated 25.8 million U.S. adults – over 8 percent of the population. Left untreated, diabetes can cause blindness and end stage renal disease. It also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease by 2 to 4 fold and is the seventh leading cause of death for Americans. The diabetes hospitalization rates in 2009 were 17.7 per 10,000 residents. Communities with poor to limited access to health care, as well as affordable healthy food and nutritional education are estimated to have three times the hospitalization rate of the entire population. In all of our communities the incidence of childhood obesity has increased, and lack of access to good nutrition have contributed to our national problems. Addressing childhood obesity through education and exposure to good nutrition practices will impact these staggering numbers and costs. Everyone wins − the individuals impacted by these chronic diseases, the communities they live in through the creation of a healthy, educated and productive population, and the cost of health care provided by federal, state and local governments and employers too!
In addition to supporting the recommendations of your colleagues, I urge your support of an approved 2012 Farm Bill that ensures:
- education and financial support to generate growth and employment in the healthy food retail sector
- incentives to preserve and increase regional healthy food production
- funding for pilots that bring together community groups, schools, non-profits and health care providers that focus on reducing childhood obesity and hospitalization related to diabetes.
Many involved in the health care arena are committed to partnering with our communities to improve access to affordable healthy food and the understanding of the role good nutrition plays in one’s personal health. In fact, many organizations are already implementing healthy food programs for our patients, residents and staff. In short, I promise live out message we advocate in this letter.
I urge you to support the Farm Bill with the changes we have outlined. Thank you for considering this request.