A walk down Mission Street this morning revealed plenty of food items available for breakfast, but the healthy options were way fewer than the non-healthy options, which also tend to be costlier. For example, while a soda can be had for a couple of bucks, that nutritious green drink will set you back about eights dollars. On face value, it’s easier on your wallet to opt for the cheaper treats, from donuts to bagels, but what is the cost to one’s health?
Polls from renowned worldwide organizations, such as the World Health Organization, consistently place the United States way down the list of healthiest nations. While we have a health care system envied by many for its research and surgical know-how, the for-profit system seems more geared to curing disease rather than preventing maladies.
The American dinner table is in bad shape. Portions are huge, with seconds the norm. There is a paucity of green items, with white foods dominating most plates. Supper is generally followed by a sugary treat, as ice cream and cookies vie for popularity with pie and cake.
Coupled with a lack of exercise–with after-dinner walks way less common than time staring at a device–the nation is suffering from a health crisis.
To meet the challenge of bettering the nation’s health, April 6th to 12th is “National Public Health Week.” The goal is to get Americans to take a look at their health habits.
To start, the idea is to have Americans sign a pledge, from the American Public Health Association, to take care of their health, so that in 2030 the United States will be the healthiest county on the planet. There is also a petition to create a groundswell of support for legislators to promote health nationwide.
Things are not better closer to home in San Francisco’s Mission District. Data in the San Francisco Community Health Assessment and Profile (September 2012, page 41), compiled by the San Francisco Department of Public Health, showed major issues in the community.
The research revealed a 56.9 obesity rate for San Francisco Latinos, meaning a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 30. Another 17.4 of Latinos in the city were estimated as overweight, with a BMI between 25.0-29.9. There is an urgent need to address this health crisis.
As a way to educate the community, on Friday, March 20th, the Mission Promise Neighborhood held a Chavez Health Fair, with 150 bags of healthy snacks handed out to the elementary school students.
MEDA’s Community Health & Safety Manager Avni Desai knows this education needs to start at an early age. “”We need to make the healthy choice the easy choice for our children and their families in the Mission. Providing healthier landscapes and educating families about health is crucial to ensure our children are achieving and families are succeeding,” explains Desai of the need.
We urge you to sign the American Public Health Association pledge today. For the nation. For your family. For you.