Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Who Are We...Why We Exist

Southern Food Policy Advocates
-          A Florida policy and advocacy organization committed to improving the health and well being of Floridians by addressing systems issues concerning food, nutrition and fitness.

Obesity may be the most significant public policy issue of our times that is not being adequately addressed or creating the alarm warranted. Obesity qualifies in this regarding because of the followin
  • Obesity is a public policy issue because its health costs are born by society at large and because weight bias affects the ability of obese people to participate equally in the political, social and economic life of their society
  • The emergence of obesity may be attributed to sociological, genetic, economic and political causes.
  • Obesity finds its place on the political agenda along two pathways. The growth in the prevalence and costs related to obesity has finally reached unacceptable level compelling legislators to address the underlying problems. Secondly, obesity is closely linked to tobacco addiction, an issue that already occupies a secure place on the policy agenda
  • There is clear evidence that racial and ethnic disparities regarding access to nutritious food and health care are resulting obesity and obesity-related illnesses.

Why policy? The implementation of good public nutrition, food, and fitness policies, which are supported by local and state legislation, is an efficient way to help the greatest number of people makes positive changes in their lives. Rather than focusing on changing people’s behavior one person at a time, effective public policy makes structural changes to the environment altering population-level behavior.  

Why policy? In the absence of good public policy obesity related medical costs are significantly impacting the healthcare cost of local, state and federal governments. Correspondingly the cost for obese workers missing more days of work and those employees costing employers more in medical and disability claims as well as workers compensation claims.

The Focus of Southern Food Policy Advocates
Utilize public policy to address access to nutritious food, obesity and obesity related health issue (i.e., healthy eating and active living policy) by means of:
  • Legislative and administrative advocacy at the federal, state, and locals levels to strengthen public nutrition and fitness programs.
-          Proactively engineer policy by conducting research, identifying quantified issues for action, amassing support, creating legislative support, drafting language for bill, securing legislative sponsors, working sponsored bills through the legislative process, and education/advocacy among all stakeholders.

  • Policy-oriented research that assesses economic impacts
-          Build an evidence base for obesity, nutrition, and fitness policy by quantifying the economic impacts at various levels (i.e., to government budgets, businesses’ profit,  increase in discretionary spending dollars for citizens from lower medical cost and better food choices)

  • Promotion and outreach to further public education about key nutrition issues, nutrition programs, fitness issues, and fitness programs.

  • Technical assistance and training that empowers advocates and community members to engage in nutrition, food, and fitness policy.

  • Local, state, and regional partnerships with advocates and community-based organizations to collectively identify and address critical nutrition, food, and fitness issues facing Floridians

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