For so many reasons in our society, children are incredibly important. They will eventually become the next generation of teachers, doctors, medical researchers, elected officials, businessmen and women, and community leaders whose achievements and decisions affect all of our lives. We work hard to ensure they have access to education, opportunity, and the ability to give back to the society to which they belong.
It’s no secret that every one of us wants our children to eat healthy and live long lives so they can achieve to their highest potential. The basic building block of this journey is a healthy child, which is largely influenced by their nutrition. In our beautiful Palmetto state, though, we need to make this a priority. South Carolina has the 3 highest childhood obesity rate in the United States. Currently 39.2% of youth (ages 10-17) in South Carolina are overweight or obese (National Survey of Children’s Health).
We owe our children more. We need to ensure that when they aren’t at home, their schools continue to offer them the healthiest, most nutritious food options. This is why in 2015, we desperately need your support on Smart Snacks legislation. This will ensure all snacks and beverages sold in schools meet the new USDA guidelines. This also guarantees students have access to healthy choices during and after school.
We owe our state more.
In 2009, it is estimated that $1.2 billion dollars was spent on health-care costs due to obesity in our state, with the projected increase to $5.3 billion dollars in 2018 (SC DHEC). Taxpayers, through Medicaid or Medicare, pay the majority of this cost. This cost could be alleviated, with money spent elsewhere, if more of an effort was made on every level to influence health and nutrition in children and residents of our state.
Supporting the effort to keep our children healthy could be as simple as a vote. Your elected officials in South Carolina need to hear your voice, and they need to understand the message that we want to keep our kids healthy – and we need their vote to do it.