Monday, June 11, 2012

Philadelphia tackles obesity crisis

Last Wednesday — the day before New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a controversial ban on the retail sale of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces in the Big Apple — a coalition of community activists, health care policy advocates and concerned citizens participated in a national conference call sponsored by the group Local to Global Advocates for Justice to discuss the nutrition crisis that continues to plague communities of color.

 The call — which attracted participants from cities stretching from Oakland, Calif., to Washington D.C. — offered a platform for representatives of the so-called Food Sovereignty Movement to share stories and brainstorm new strategies for retaking control of the dietary choices in their communities.
Jackie Byers — director of the Oakland-based Black Organizing Project — hosted the call. Byers — who has worked for more than 16 years advocating for a variety of social justice issues and was formerly the associate director of the Center for Third World Organizing — says it’s time for people of color to assert their moral authority over the corporations that are destroying their communities by flooding them with foods that are high in fat, high in sugar and lacking nutritional value. 

“Across the country our children, Black children, are under a profound nutritional deficit,” she said. “The food system that’s feeding them, that’s feeding us, is not a wholesome, vibrant, healthy food system that promotes our health and well being; it’s promoting caloric overload, it’s promoting not only obesity, but chronic conditions that are reducing our quality of life and our longevity.”  Continue reading at The Philadelphia Tribune...