Healthy Food and Beverage Policies
Over the last several years, various efforts have taken place in cities and counties across the nation to address the country's obesity epidemic. Obesity is a multifaceted problem that is the result of several individual, social, and environmental factors. Although obesity is a serious health problem for many individuals, those most affected by the epidemic have been children. In Long Beach 27% of 5th, 7th, and 9th graders are considered obese, with an additional 20% being classified as overweight. This is particularly concerning when compared to the national childhood obesity rate of 20%. Children and adolescents who are overweight are more likely to remain so as adults with approximately 75% of overweight adolescents becoming obese as young adults. With obesity comes an increased risk of many chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, and several forms of cancer.
Currently, the estimated economic costs of overweight, obesity, and physical inactivity for California is $41 Billion a year. Obesity, and it's related conditions, are not only costly, but they contribute to a decrease in the qualify of life for many individuals. In fact many health experts today are projecting that unless the obesity epidemic improves, our nation may be facing the first generation in it's history that will have shorter life spans than their parents. With the healthy food and beverage policies, Long Beach is aiming to be part of the solution to this very complex problem.
Under the County's RENEW program, the Health Department was awarded a grant to work in partnership with community coalitions and residents to create a healthy food initiative for Long Beach. As a result, a healthy snack food and beverage policy for the City was created.
Beginning January 1, 2012 the City of Long Beach implemented a citywide Healthy Snack Food & Beverage Policy. This policy is an important step in addressing childhood obesity and creating a healthy food environment for the community.
Healthy Snack Food & Beverage Policy:
The City's Healthy Snack Food & Beverage Policy applies to all snack foods and beverages served at all youth-oriented meetings and classes, and to all snacks offered in vending machines located in public areas. Although not mandatory for adult-oriented meetings and classes, or employee meetings and trainings, all departments are encouraged to voluntarily adopt the policy, or at a minimum, encourage City employees to implement the policy on their own.
Healthy Beverage Vending Policy:
The City's Healthy Beverage Vending Policy applies to all beverages offered in vending machines located in public areas.
For more information, or for staff training on how to implement these policies within your department or programs.