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Take Action

Join The Children’s Movement of California

Tell others about The Children’s Movement of California and its Pro-Kid campaigns

Donate to the Pro-Kid cause

 
 

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Reports & Research

The 2014 California Children’s Report Card

KIDS COUNT Data Book, 2013

California Report Card, 2011-12

 

Childhood Obesity & Dental Disease: Common Causes, Common Solutions, 2011

California County Scorecard of Children’s Well-Being, 2010

The Impact of Industry Self-Regulation on the Nutritional Quality of Foods Advertised on Television to Children, 2009

See All Reports & Research

 

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Related News

Disney junk food ad ban guided by CU nutrition center (Denver Post)

More Empty Recommendations on Junk Food Marketing to Children (The Huffington Post)

Special Report: How Washington went soft on childhood obesity (Reuters)

 

Pediatricians: Stop Marketing Junk to Kids (TakePart.com)

One in Four California Families Can’t Afford Food for Their Kids (New America Media)

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Facts & Figures

If obesity trends persist, one in three California children born in 2000 is expected to develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime.

According to federal guidelines, children and adolescents should participate in physical activity for at least one hour every day. Only 29% of California’s children, ages 5-11, meet this recommendation.

Economic disparities exist in access to healthy foods. Low-income neighborhoods have the lowest number of supermarkets and the highest number of fast food restaurants.

 

Adolescents’ physical activity differs by gender. In California, the percentage of adolescent boys involved in at least one hour of physical activity every week day (20%) is twice as high as the percentage for adolescent girls (10%).

About one in three California children (31%), ages 10-17, is overweight or obese, just slightly below the national average (32%).

See All Related Facts & Figures

 

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Policy Priorities

Centralize the creation of a comprehensive public policy agenda to address obesity.

Support a state tax on sweetened beverages to help reduce dental decay and obesity.

Make it easier for needy families to participate in CalFresh.

 

Increase physical activity during and after school.

Resume the adoption process for the health curriculum framework in public schools in 2012-13 and ensuring the inclusion of nutrition education.

Provide incentives for redevelopment projects to incorporate health concerns into planning by conducting health impact assessments and involving affected residents.

See All Policy Priorities

 

Resources

Claiming Health: Front-of-Package Labeling of Children’s Food

Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity within a Generation: White House Taskforce on Childhood Obesity Report to the President

 
 


Nearly 1 in 3 children in California is overweight or obese, dramatically increasing their likelihood of developing serious and costly health conditions and making childhood obesity one of the biggest public health risks California faces.

Data Highlights

77% of obese children become obese adults, increasing their risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke and cancer. Childhood obesity rates in California are high and begin when children are young. 17% of low-income, preschool-aged children in California are obese, the highest percentage in the nation. Childhood obesity is estimated to cost Americans over $14 billion annually; however, this figure balloons to $168.4 billion when obese children become obese adults.
Figure: Percent of overweight kids in California
(click to enlarge image)
Children’s built environments affect their health. Children living within a quarter mile of a convenience store are nearly twice as likely to be overweight or obese as children living further away from such stores. Similarly, children living within a half mile of a large park are less than half as likely to be overweight or obese than those who do not. In 2010, only three-quarters (76%) of California high schools provided all students with the opportunity to participate in physical activities such as sports or clubs. And only 15% of California high schools always offer fruit and non-fried vegetable options in vending machines, school stores, canteens or snack bars.

Research shows that advertising has a powerful influence on the food preferences of children, ages 2 to 11, and that less than 1% of television food and beverage advertising to children is for healthy products. Moreover, the amount of children’s television viewing is associated with their caloric intake. During weekends, 3 out of 4 California children (75%) spend at least 2 hours a day watching TV or playingvideo games.

Pro-Kid Policy Agenda

California should institute a comprehensive approach to combating childhood obesity, focusing on healthy food and beverage choices, increased physical activity and nutrition education. Specifically, the state should create a public policy agenda to address the multitude of factors underlying childhood obesity, support a state tax on sweetened beverages, offer students healthy food and beverage choices and increase physical activity during and after school.

Figure: TV commercials and unhealthy food
(click to enlarge image)

Momentum

Hundreds of school sites in California will benefit from more than $12.5 million in new state and federal grants to provide nutritious food to students.14 These grants provide eligible elementary schools with funding to offer students a variety of free fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks during the school day. Other grants will provide funding to start or expand the School Breakfast Program for K-12 students.

Despite the federal government’s failing to issue voluntary nutritional guidelines for food and beverage companies marketing to children, individual media companies have the opportunity to improve their own standards. For example, Disney established its own company nutrition standard to determine which food and beverage products are advertised, promoted or sponsored on the Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney.com and on Saturday morning programming for kids on ABC-owned stations. Additionally, Sesame Workshop recently announced plans to offer use of their characters including Big Bird and Elmo free of charge to supermarkets, produce companies and farmers to help promote fruits and vegetables.