COMBATTING OBESITY TOGETHER
Office of the Mayor
200 East Santa Clara Street, San Jose CA 95113
Mr. David Kirchhoff
President and Chief Executive Officer
Weight Watchers International, Inc.
175 Crossways Park West
Woodbury, New York 11797
Dear Mr. Kirchhoff:
Proposal for a Joint Venture
Your organization will be well aware as we are that America has earned the reputation as the most overweight nation in the world (Balagso & Fenstersheib, 2010). The situation has become so serious as to become a national threat to our security in that 2 out of 3 adults are obese or overweight. The figure has doubled among children and tripled among teenagers. In our city, more than half of all adults and a quarter of middle and high school children are overweight or obese. We both know that this condition increases the risk of major health problems, which, in our City alone, cost more than $500 million annually. This figure is expected to rise to $1 billion in 7 years (Balagso & Fenstersheib).
We are calling for special attention to the plight of obese Latinos in our City. Recent figures say that approximately 32% of our population is Latino, and the rate of obesity and overweight among them has gone up from 52-56% in the last decades (Balagso & Fenstersheib, 2010). Of the ethnic minorities, Latinos are the most overweight or obese at 68% as compared with African-Americans at 63% and Asian-Americans at 39%. Among the youth, they are approximately as overweight or obese as African-Americans. Forecast says that almost half of all Latino children will develop diabetes, which is linked to obesity. These children will likely have shorter life expectancy. Recent statistics say that top businesses incurred an excess $26.5 million worth of medical expense due to obesity. The cost burden for San Jose was almost $500 million. These figures are expected to reach $1 billion in 7 years at current pace (Balagso & Fenstersheib).
It is not too hard to see how these have come about. Lifestyles have changed very much in the last decades. Research says that, 40 years ago, 41% of American children walked to school (Balagso & Fensterscheib,...
Fast food establishments have mushroomed. Full service groceries, which sell affordable and healthful foods, have since not been too accessible. Advertisements of unhealthful foods have been targeting children. In the wake of these sore developments, the World Health Organization's health policies have alerted and engaged leaders and policy-makers at all levels of government to the growing problem. WHO states that government objectives will be most achievable if all sectors incorporate health and well-being into as key components in policy development. It also recognizes that the causes of health and well-being are economically and socially formed. National Policy Direction emphasizes prevention under the 2010 Affordable Care Act. It provides for a Policy Package to Prevent Obesity, which covers price, image and access. It decreases the costs of fruits, vegetables and waters and increases the cost of unhealthy foods. It restricts advertisements to kids and displays the harm caused by unhealthy foods and drinks. And it increase access to healthy foods and water while reducing the volume of free junk foods and sweet drinks in schools and government and health facilities (Balagso & Fenstersheib).
Our City has maintained leadership status in obesity prevention policies (Balagso & Fenstersheib, 2010). Its 2040 draft plan is directed towards enhancing access to fresh and healthful foods and promoting active living. Even now, our bike, trail and park systems have been expanded to increase outdoor recreation. Our legislative policies prioritize health and wellness, greater access to local organic foods, increased physical activity and proper nutrition. We have forged partnership with Health and Trust and Kaiser Foundation for the optimum use of all resources for health. Community centers and libraries promote these goals. And access to community gardens has also been increased. At present, our City continues to integrate health into all our planning processes, including land use and zoning; introduce additional policies that promote walking, biking and public transportation; enter into joint agreements that create more opportunities for physical activity; and restrict advertisements and promotions of unhealthy foods, especially to children and ethnic minorities (Balagso & Fenstensheib).
The United Nations Decade for a Healthy World 2011-2020 (NIGH, 2011) is a proactive global opportunity works within a framework, which enables all sectors and levels of human society to…
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