To the editor:
It is with great enthusiasm that we send kudos and congratulations to the Sherman County School District. They have recently received word of their successful grant application from the competitive Farm to School and School Garden award of $1,087.
The funds will support the development of a hydroponic system for the school district green house. Vegetables grown are used in the school food program. Increasing consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables promotes better health.
There has been much attention paid to the growing rate of childhood obesity and the cost to us all for the eventual chronic diseases that frequently develop over time such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. North Central Public Health recognizes the challenges faced in curbing this tide. It will take the entire community to impact the policies, systems and environments we live in and to promote healthy choices.
Recent data shows that 26% of local children aged 2-5 years, participating in the Women Infants and Children (WIC) program are overweight. This percentage is higher than children the same age in Los Angeles and New York according to a recent MMWR report. The rate of obesity in Oregon’s adult population has increased 121% from 1990 to 2009. A Reuters article recently provided examples of obesity’s economic impact: $190 billion in annual medical costs, double earlier estimates; $5 billion annually for additional jet fuel needed to fly heavier Americans, compared to fuel needed at 1960 weights; $1,026 – annual cost of absenteeism per very obese male workers (BMI > 40) and $1,262 for female workers. The medical and non-medical costs attributed to obesity cost us all.
We thank our community partners, like Sherman County School District, who are taking action to promote healthy choices. It will take everyone’s commitment to make “The Healthy Choice, The Easy Choice.”
Jane Palmer RN/BSN
North Central Public Health District