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My Christmas List

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is for childhood obesity rates to continue to drop in Philly as well as everywhere else.  Since you magically make things happen:-)  here are few ways you can make my Christmas wish come true.

  1. First of all, I believe there needs to be a higher food tax on fast food. I think this will help decrease the consumption of fast food, especially in low-income communities where obesity rates are highest. People might say “this is all some people in low-income communities can afford. So, we can’t create a tax just for fast food.” However, as an alternative, we could provide price incentives so that healthy food – and not just talking about fruits and vegetables would be more affordable. So Santa, please work on a fast food tax ASAP.
  2. Secondly, all the food marketing of unhealthy food directed towards children, and especially teens, is still outrageous. I would think marketers would get it by now; you can market healthy just as easy as you can market unhealthy stuff. Let’s face it; if you market to us we will most likely buy it. So please Santa, work with marketers and the food industry to show us what we really want to buy – healthy food and beverages.
  3. Thirdly, there should not be more than 10 ingredients in any packaged food.  Sometimes you need to buy packaged food but do we really need all those extra additives and fillers? Food labels should easily tell you what ingredients are providing you Nutritional Value and which ingredients are Value Limited. So Santa, could you please start making food labels look like this. It could be a major contribution to helping teens and families make smart food choices.
  4. Fourth, there needs to be more affordable healthy food options in low-income communities. This means more supermarkets and farmers' markets in low-income communities. I still see way more fast food restaurants than decent supermarkets, and that needs to change. Although marketing plays a large role in the way we are eating, parents play an even larger role. Parents are responsible for leading their children away from unhealthy options, and I have seen many parents sleeping on the job. I’m from a low-income community and I have seen parents on the train giving the toddlers soda, honey buns, hugs, hot dogs and all types of things packed with sugar and unnecessary fat with limited nutritional value.  So let’s work on making it easier for parents to make healthy choices for their little ones.
  5. Last, but not least, perhaps it’s time for you to cut down on all the cookies and milk:-) We love you just the way you are but trust me - you can eat healthy and still be jolly.

Sincerely,

George, SHIFT Crew Leader

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