|Received:||6/8/2005 1:58:56 PM|
|Submitted As:||CW Web Form|
|Organization:||Monterey County Health Department|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
|Rule:||Food Marketing to Kids Workshop|
|Docket ID:||To Be Added|
|Attachment:||516960-00025.pdf Download Adobe Reader|
Comments:The Nutrition and Fitness Collaborative of the Central Coast (NFCCC) is composed of members representing 50+ agencies from Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito Counties. Most of us have worked around nutrition issues for some time, but were continuing to see obesity rates rise. In twenty years, the number of overweight children in the U.S. has tripled. In the Central Coast region, between 25 and 35% of children are overweight and even more are unfit. Inactivity costs Salinas $61,497,566 a year in Workman’s Comp, Medical Bills and lost productivity. The Collaborative is concerned with the rise in child obesity in our region. As one way to address this, they began surveying residents of the communities of Salinas, Hollister and Watsonville to find out why people drove everywhere, sat much of the rest of the time, and were not burning off the calories they took in. What they found will be the basis for a policy brief called Taking a Step in the Right Direction, and will be used to encourage policy makers to turn our communities into places people walk, both for enjoyment, health, and to accomplish their business. The good news is that many people ARE walking. 60% of our Salinas respondents say they walk on a regular basis. So what’s keeping 40% off their feet? 22 percent of walkers find streets difficult to cross safely; citing signals that aren’t timed for walkers (11 percent), and poorly marked or absent crosswalks (6 percent) as major concerns. 21% percent are intimidated by “scary people”, and 16 percent are intimidated by “scary dogs” where they walk or would like to walk. Driver behavior endangers pedestrians. A total of 13 percent of walkers reported that cars drove too fast, drivers backed without looking, or did not yield to pedestrians. But the biggest problem is that we are conditioned to head to the car when we need to run an errand. More than 75% of all trips less than one mile were made by car in 1995, and that’s only gotten worse. We drive ourselves, we drive our kids, and many of us have seen the wonderful shot of a dog being walked on a leash held by his owner who’d driving an SUV. We know that when children walk to school, it positively affects their academic performance, improves their self-image, and independence, provides healthier social and emotional development, and increases the likelihood that they will grow into active adults. Based on our surveys, we recommend the following: § Allot a portion of transportation revenues to building walking-friendly infrastructure, not just road repair. Feet are transportation too! § Use Air Quality dollars to reduce emissions by facilitating walking over driving. § Dedicate a percentage of licensing fees, i.e. animal licensing, to pedestrian support. Many who walk do so with their dogs. § Work with Collaborative members to find alternate sources of support and funding to ensure that Central Coast communities are pedestrian friendly. We ask that when marketing to children is addressed it also include promoting an image of childhood that includes active play and walking (not being driven by Mom) as the logical and first choice in trips of less than a mile. Thank you.