King County’s Food Day mission focuses on affordability, sustainability

October 21, 2011

By Staff

NEW — 8 a.m. Oct. 21, 2011

In King County, Food Day is about bringing together parents, teachers, students, health professionals, chefs, school lunch providers and others to advocate for affordable and sustainable foods.

Food Day is Oct. 24, and King County health officials plan a series of events to highlight local foods, access to healthy foods and childhood-obesity prevention.

“Local organizations, schools, leaders and residents are mobilizing for Food Day to expand access to healthy food and curb access to junk food,” Dr. David Fleming, Public Health – Seattle & King County director and health officer, and a Food Day national advisory board member, said in a statement. “We are aiming for long-term improvements so all of our residents have access to healthy options and ultimately good health.”

King County health officials have made important progress in declining cardio-vascular disease mortality and leveling of the obesity rate. However, challenges remain, including increasing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and increasing rates of hypertension and high cholesterol.

Officials said, among King County’s eighth-grade and high-school youths, 21 percent qualify as obese and overweight, and 10 percent drank two or more sodas on the day before the survey.

Food Day activities planned in King County include:

  • The county Board of Health is due to consider a Food Day resolution Friday. The resolution focuses on the healthy food access provided through WIC nutrition program for women, infants and children, as well as the critical link Maternity Support Services provides in connecting high-risk pregnant women to WIC and other services. (Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger and County Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, Issaquah’s representative, serve on the board.)
  • The public is invited to tour a farm and meet farmers at the Seattle Tilth Farm Works open house Saturday from 10-11:30 a.m. in Auburn. The project, supported by Communities Putting Prevention to Work, supports refugees, immigrants and other low-income families to create small farming businesses.
  • The local Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition and the YMCA of Greater Seattle partnered and ask people to take the Soda Free Sundays pledge during a gathering at the Downtown Seattle Y, 909 Fourth Ave., Oct. 24 from 5-8 p.m.
  • Public Health – Seattle & King County hosts WIC nutrition and cooking classes in public health centers, and Access and Outreach table at Crossroads Mall in Bellevue featuring the WIC and Basic Food Breastfeeding Program, and SNAC nutrition and cooking classes in schools.

In portions of Seattle and South King County, a student is more likely to have a fast food restaurant within a half mile of his or her school compared to students in the rest of the county. The student is also more likely to be overweight or obese.

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