There is no question that one of the biggest obstacles to America’s future is the health of its citizens. The statistics tell the whole story. Increases in the rate of obesity, type II diabetes, and other serious long term health problems indicate that the next generation may be the first to live shorter lives on average than their parents. On the opposite side are the children who don’t have enough to eat, who are malnourished or undernourished which impacts their future my compromising their ability to learn and grow. All this, when taken together, means we are heading for a future that no one finds promising.
Luckily, there are those among us who are not ready to give up the fight. There are people who can see a different future for today’s children, full of potential and where everything is possible. There are people like Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture who recently outlined ways the USDA can help turn the tide, and make this generation healthier than the last. Secretary Vilsack spoke out at a Georgia event last month about the need for a firmer commitment to the health of our children. He says we need to improve childhood nutrition by continuing to focus on improving access to information on healthy eating as well as improving access to healthy alternatives.
By outlining the hard facts, Mr. Vilsack painted a real picture of the challenges our children are facing if something doesn’t change. According to the Secretary, the incidence of childhood obesity has tripled, which means that 1 in 3 children today is either overweight or obese. These children are also already at risk for entirely preventable diseases like diabetes and heart disease. These are the trends we need to change.
In his comments, the Secretary commended the USDA for its work thus far to improve nutrition overall and to combat the obesity epidemic. He indicated that everyone knows when people eat right and exercise they are healthier. And healthier people are more productive. This is as true for children as it is for adults. Children who have access to nutritional meals learn better, score better on tests, and are more likely to make it all the way through high school to graduation. This means that making sure our children are healthy today helps build a strong economy tomorrow.
There are also those fighting to win this war right here in Arizona. The team here at Fill Your Plate strives to help local families find the best local foods. By focusing on local farmers, we help bring farmers and families together to make healthier meals from food grown right here at home. Throughout the Fill Your Plate site you can find information on how to find and use the healthy locally grown produce, beef, poultry, pork, and dairy products provided by Arizona farmers.
Looking to see what’s in season? Check our Arizona Produce in Season section.
Wondering where you can find that special ingredient grown right here at home? Check our Find a Farm Product to see who has it for sale.
Need a new recipe for that fabulous find at the farmers’ market? Check out our recipe section for delicious dishes featuring everyone’s favorite local ingredients.
- 5 Easy Ways to Eat Better for Less (fillyourplate.org)
- 10 Ways to Fill Your Day with Fruits and Vegetables: Part 1 (fillyourplate.org)
- 7 Tips to Eating Your Way to More Energy (fillyourplate.org)