Farmers stand ready to help Californians tackle obesity crisis
» April 5, 2005 «
As the costs of obesity mount for the state's businesses, farmers reminded Californians that one solution to the crisis is as close as the neighborhood grocery store, farmers' market or fruit stand.
A report issued today by the California Department of Health Services estimated that businesses suffer $21.7 billion in annual losses related to obesity, primarily in the form of lost productivity and medical costs.
The report says health experts recommend that Californians increase their physical activity and eat more fruits and vegetables. It notes that the state has "tremendous resources to rectify the imbalance, not the least of which are year-round access to fresh fruits and vegetables and outdoor physical activity."
"Health authorities agree that obesity is a serious threat, and encourage increased fruit and vegetable consumption to help people lose weight and stay thin," California Farm Bureau Federation President Bill Pauli said. "Californians benefit from unique access to plentiful fruit and vegetable supplies."
He encouraged Californians to seek out fruits and vegetables grown in the state.
"California farmers take pride in growing abundant, affordable and safe crops. Those crops are produced under the most stringent standards in the world," Pauli said. "Many of our state's fruit and vegetable growers face waves of competition from foreign suppliers who pay low wages and need not comply with the health and environmental rules governing California farms."
The state's farms produce nearly half the vegetables grown in the United States, and dominate production of many fresh fruits.
"That proximity to the nation's top fruit and vegetable growing regions provides California consumers with a variety of healthy, safe, locally grown products that can't be matched anywhere else," Pauli said. "Our farmers stand ready to grow more of the crops that health experts recommend as one cure for the obesity epidemic."
The California Farm Bureau Federation is the state's largest farm organization, representing nearly 87,000 members statewide.
Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.Top