Your mother may have always told you to eat your fruit and veggies. If so–consider yourself fortunate. According to new data from the CDC in the first ever State Indicator Report on Fruits and Veggies, more us need to dish up.
The CDC report provides information for each state on how many fruits and veggies people are eating and importantly, it highlights three key areas within communities and schools that can be improved to increase access, availability and affordability of fruits and veggies. According to the report, it shows that no state is meeting the national goals that were outlined in Healthy People 2010 (as an fyi, you can now comment on the Healthy People 2020 objectives to help frame our nation’s health priorities).
Fruits and veggies are essential to healthy living, preventing obesity and protecting us from chronic diseases and certain cancer–yet simply put, the CDC report found that many of us can’t eat the recommend amounts because we can’t fruits and veggies may not be easily accessible, available or affordable. What I like about this report, is that is not only states the problem–but offers ways to overcome it. And many of them, tap into the social marketing tool of advocacy.
- Did you know that only 8 states have a state-level policy for healthier food retail improvements? Is your state one of these? If not, advocate for policy to address this concern.
- Did you know that only 1 in 5 middle and high schools offer fruits and non-fried veggies in vending machines, school stores or snack bars? And did you know that only 21 states have a state-level policy to increase fruit and vegetable access in schools? Check to see if this is your state, and if not, advocate that policy addresses this concern.
- Have you ever heard of a food policy council? According to the CDC, a food policy council is a “multi-stakeholder organization to improve food environments.” And guess what–only 20 states have a state-level food policy council and only 59 local food policy councils exist across the nation. I can’t vouch for their effectiveness, but it seems like a great way to start a conversation about the issue and presents another opportunity to advocate and organize.
For further inspiration to fuel ways to advocate for healthier behaviors in your community, check out CDC’s State Indicator Report on Fruits and Veggies as it provides fruit and vegetable consumption–as well as policy and environmental support–within each state. As an added resource, the CDC has also put together this report outlining recommended community strategies to address obesity.
At the CDC conference in August, we were reminded about the power and ability to leverage advocacy to meet social marketing objectives…looks like we have quite the opportunity here. Feel free to share what you and/or your community is doing to address this epidemic. We can continue spreading awareness about the obesity epidemic, or we can choose to do something about it.
flickr credit: mightmightmatz