The health of our nation is at serious risk. 31% of California school aged children are obese. Chronic heart disease, stroke, and diabetes are respectively the #1, #2, and #6 cause of death in LA County.
Misinformation The processed food industry has a relentless misinformation strategy and power over policy makers. The USDA sets the guidelines for which foods are served to schoolchildren and there is currently a misinformation campaign underway to return to serving less healthy food. Misrepresented healthy food is also being used as an excuse to serve poor quality, unappealing food. There needs to be more voices challenging this.
Education Component SugarWatch provides a curriculum that meets the needs of each community and includes information on understanding nutrition, reading nutrition labeling, and how to best prepare nutritious food that the family will enjoy.
Food Deserts Many communities, especially those in food deserts, lack access to healthy food and are surrounded by fast food and sub par grocers selling primarily processed food. South Los Angeles only has 60 full service grocery stores for over 1.3 million residents, compared to West Los Angeles with 57 full service grocery stores for 657,000 residents. Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to nearly 21% over the same period. One out of three children born in California after the year 2000 are obese and will develop diabetes. As multiple studies show, there is a much higher likelihood for obesity in low income groups when compared to high income groups.
Mobile Farmer's Market SugarWatch partners with local schools to set up a weekly mobile farmer’s market. This set up includes fresh produce, information on storage/length it will last, recipes, nutrition, etc. Produce should be affordable, should be able to use EBT, and fresh and healthy as possible.
School Nutrition Many school lunches are not being prepared in a way, which ensures children are receiving the opportunity to eat nutritious and healthy outcomes, and many of our children have poor eating habits. If kids are not healthy and well, studies show school attendance decreases due to children being sick due to sugar consumption, instructional time is lost due to the effect of sugar on concentration and behavior, and the effects of the achievement gap will continue to intensify. Once more, if a student is present at school, they will score higher on standardized tests, have higher GPAs, and have overall better performance in school.
Community Leadership SugarWatch creates a group that includes parents, teachers, and stakeholders in the community who are trained as leaders to fill the educational component of healthy eating and help with community organizing. They also work to create local recommendations that benefit the nutritional outcomes in the local community. They watch over local schools and help create a culture of healthy living with the goal of reducing the number of days students are out of school from feeling sick, therefore addressing academic achievement.
To address all of these problems we propose Policy Advocacy SugarWatch hires policy analysts to look at nutrition policy on the individual, community, and national policy level.
SugarWatch creates policy teams that include experts and CAT members.