Individuals Must Change Diet, Exercise Habits
WASHINGTON, April 24, 2013 – Regulation of big sugary drinks and processed foods can help reduce alarmingly high rates of obesity among Hispanics, but changes in individual behavior and support from community organizations are also crucial, according to a new report released today by The Hispanic Institute.
The report, “Obesity: Hispanic America’s Big Challenge,” criticizes the processed food industry for its complicity in flooding stores with drinks that are too sugary and foods that are too salty and fat. It also urges national organizations not to accept funds from companies whose products hurt the people they represent.
“Of course, we’re responsible for what we eat and drink, but we’re also subject to the effects of massive advertising and misleading promotional campaigns – especially on our children and the poor,” Gus West, president of The Hispanic Institute, said in announcing the report. “Education and awareness can make a difference, but we also need the community organizations to walk away from funding by the processed food and big sugary drink companies. Community Organizations did it in the ‘90s, when they broke with tobacco companies; they can do it again now with these companies,” he added.
The report applauds public officials like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose much publicized effort to control the sale of big sugary drinks was blocked by a court ruling on an appeal brought by the sugary drink manufacturers, supported by Hispanic and African American Organizations.
“Obesity: Hispanic America’s Big Challenge” details the impact of diabetes and heart disease on the Hispanic community, which suffers from those obesity-related conditions at rates surpassed only by those of non-Hispanic African-Americans, and it offers some solutions. The positive roles of diet and exercise and technology are also examined