Editor,

The Centers for Disease Control discuss the alarming rate at which obesity has grown, that it is projected to continue to grow up to 48.9% by the year 2030 and that it presently costs us approximately $14 billion dollars a year in healthcare costs. As a registered nurse and soon to be a Nurse Practitioner, I have helped provide care to families who have children diagnosed with obesity. I have witnessed first-hand the ill effects of obesity: hypertension, hyperlipidemia, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and depression. I have seen how negatively obesity impacts children. Measures must be taken to help ensure the health of the children. Senate Bill 499, School meals: California-Grown for Healthy Kids Program is a bill that will benefit local farmers and children. It supports California agriculture and promotes the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables for children while at school. This bill requires schools to provide nutrition education so students learn where their food comes from and the value of fruits and vegetables. Farmers will benefit by having their freshly, locally grown produce supplied to students to fuel their bodies for optimal learning. Providing these tools to youth will maximize their development for the benefit of their future, as well as ours. SB499 would especially be helpful to these children who are only exposed to fruits and vegetables through the free lunches they receive at school.

For all the reasons listed above, children need SB499 to be approved, therefore I urge everyone in the community to consider giving it your support. To show support, contact California’s 10th Congressional District Representative Josh Harder. Mr. Harder is available either by phone (209) 579-5458, Twitter (@RepJoshHarder), or Facebook (@harderforcongress).

Xochitl Tilley

Merced resident

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