I cheerily admit to being fat and happy — I never lost all the weight gained during my third pregnancy, and despite hit-or-miss efforts ever since, the needle on my bathroom scale has never slumped towards my premarital weight of 120 pounds.
Although unlikely to apply its findings in my personal life, I did read about a recent Field Poll on children and obesity with interest. The poll found a sweet spot for possible exploitation by politicians that might also represent an unmet need that could be well-served by entrepreneurs:
Almost half (48 percent) of California’s voters consider unhealthy eating habits or a lack of physical activity to be the greatest health risk facing California kids today, up from 35 percent who said this in 2003.
These two obesity-related threats are now more than twice the proportion citing illegal drug use (22 percent), the next most frequently mentioned childhood health risk.
All major segments of the voter population, including voters in all parties and across all demographic and regional subdivisions, view unhealthy eating or a lack of physical activity as the greatest health risk to state’s kids. Parents with children under age 18 are among the most likely to feel this way.
Nearly three in four voters (73 percent) believe obesity prevention efforts should involve the community as well as kids and their families. This view includes voters of all parties and major subgroups of the state.
The survey also finds that large majorities believe public investments aimed at keeping people healthy pay for themselves in the long run by preventing disease and reducing health care costs (73 percent) and think that a comprehensive program to prevent childhood obesity would be worth it even if it increased government spending by billions of dollars (68 percent).
These are the findings from an annual Field-TCE Childhood Obesity Prevention Survey conducted by The Field Poll on behalf of The California Endowment.
“Californians understand that health happens in schools, in neighborhoods, and with prevention. Regardless of age, ethnicity, income or political ideology, they recognize that investments in prevention save money over the long run. And Californians want action now. With so many of our children at risk for obesity and obesity-related illness, they agree we cannot afford to wait. I hope our state’s leaders heed the wisdom of their constituents,” said Dr. Robert K. Ross, President and CEO of The California Endowment.
I’m not sold on the need for government to butt into how families handle the problem of prying children’s fingers off game controls and wrapping them around a baseball bat or a lacrosse stick.
Allowing businesses to serve up a tasty smorgasbord of sporting solutions is another kettle of fish.
Tri-Zone’s customers seem fearfully healthy. Jeff and Gayla Greeley, Tri-Zone’s owners, are sitting smack in the middle of this sweet spot.
So is Deft Touch Soccer Center.
Play It Again Sports helps keep kids (and their parents) moving by lowering the cost of in all kinds of sports.
Hockeytron does the same for hockey in particular.
(As of yesterday, Run Seal Beach was at 79% of its capped registration of 5,500 entrants. Register now or you’ll be left watching!)
Whatever your business or organization, you might sit back for a second or two to consider how to apply this information to increase participation.
For instance, Precious Life Shelter will hold a silent auction on August 21. Could they increase the revenue by including a “Get Fit!” gift basket? (They’re probably way ahead of me on this. They’re darned sharp cookies over there.)
Or consider the print edition of the Orange County Breeze (coming in June!) It should include a section on health and fitness that emphasizes what our readers can do using local resources. Perhaps a monthly column from a local fitness expert? Now that’s something our editorial board should think about!
A dusty, dirty and obviously under-used bathroom scale. Photo by C.E.H. Wiedel.