Sunday Commentary II: Mayor Heads in Right Direction on Healthy Children

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Big Sugary Drink Ban

The two stories we have done thus far on the mayor’s Healthy Children plan have delivered surprising levels of blowback. There is a notion somehow that city government in general should only focus on fiscal issues and the provision of city services — that, somehow, focusing on other areas of our community is a distraction.

As one reader responded to a potential ordinance changing default beverages on the children’s menu away from soda and high fructose juice, this is a campaign initiative that is “cluttering up our Council agenda.” They add, “I agree with the concept — but disagree that this is a local issue.”

They viewed it as a waste of time.

But how much time are we really wasting when the city council meets only until 7:10 PM on Tuesday night with only one item on the agenda after, ironically, the sugary beverage item was moved onto consent?

As Vanguard Editorial Board member Tia Will wrote, however, “I believe that this is very much a local issue. I believe that personal eating and drinking habits occur on the very local level, household by household. Children tend to see what their parents eat or provide for them as the ‘right’ way to eat and rarely question this until they become old enough to start understanding the commercials on TV or eating at friends’ houses by which time their basic preferences are fairly well established.”

We are a nation that is facing a crisis of childhood obesity and early onset diabetes, not to mention a community which contains surprising levels of poverty, considering how affluent we are on the surface. Twenty-four percent of our students are Title One. The Vanguard has heard from a number of educators who complain that kids are not getting proper nutrition, that for a sizable population, the majority of their food is consumed at the meals provided by schools.

We have vulnerable school age populations. A good percentage of the children who live in places like Royal Oak attend schools in Davis like Montgomery. There are children there whose only meals during the course of the day are the breakfast and lunch that they receive at school.

While Montgomery, as a Title I school, provides meals to children for breakfast and lunch, non-Title I schools provide only lunch. So, when we moved to South Davis and moved our kid from Patwin (a Title I school) to Pioneer, he lost the ability to receive a breakfast because it is not offered. While that is not a huge deal in our house, it may be for many other kids.

The Vanguard has continued concerns, of course, about the quantity of sugar in some of the school foods.

Will the sugary beverage portion of the initiative make a difference by itself? Absolutely not. It is why, on November 1, we wrote, “While we think the initiative and the focus on children’s health could be potentially beneficial, at the same time, we feel the list lacks a focus on some key issues.”

But from my perspective, putting this issue on the agenda moves us in the right direction, that of starting to focus more broadly on these issues. These are really issues that the city, the county and the schools need to tackle jointly.

As Vanguard Editorial Board Member Michelle Millet wrote: “I’m glad Mayor Wolk has brought attention to this issue. I hope it raises awareness about the negative effects of all sugary beverages, not just soda.  (I see way too many 1st graders drinking 20 ounce containers of Gatorade).

“While this ordinance works to decrease the amount of sugary beverages served in restaurants we are continuing to serve it, (for ‘free’ to our low-income kids) in our schools in the form of chocolate milk. I hope First 5 will consider working to eliminate the distribution of this beverage in our schools’ breakfast and lunch programs.”

I share again the story of my nephew. I remember going to Patwin and being absolutely appalled by the food choices that were available for breakfast. My nephew, a few years ago, had a breakfast consisting of pastries, brownies, chocolate milk and other junk food. I was appalled and complained to the school and ultimately the school district — nothing happened.

I have since heard from teachers in schools like Montgomery that it’s a real problem because the kids, many of whom eat breakfast at school, load up on sugary food and then end up crashing mid-morning. This impacts not only their health but also their education.

Yet, when I raised the issue with some of the school board members, while they empathized, they failed to follow through.

I hope the issue will be taken more seriously now. But it illustrates the need to look beyond simply the city and look at a multi-jurisdictional approach.

If everyone who reads this post could pledge just $10 per month, we would meet all financial goals for 2015 and the Vanguard would be fully fiscally viable

Finally, as someone suggested, “I suspect this is a solution in search of a problem.  If anyone thinks such an ordinance will make one iota of difference, they are living in dreamland.  If parents are already allowing their children to drink lots of soda, then when the family gets to a restaurant and the kid wants soda, do you think this ordinance will make a hill of beans difference?  The parent will allow their kid a soda. It is not likely such an ordinance will change anything.”

It is a good point. This is obviously a modest step. I think the reader underestimates the impact of having to opt in to a choice versus opting out of a choice.

But, more importantly, it starts setting the tone — that we need to look long and hard at the food our kids and, frankly, all of us are consuming.

One of the reasons that I “came out” as a diabetic last week was to illustrate how big a problem this is.

I was just reading a report this week from UC Davis that references a study showing that even those who know better find junk food irresistible. I definitely fall into that camp.

“People who know that certain foods are bad for them still respond positively when confronted by a picture of a burger, fries and soda,” the study found.

In the study, participants who self-reported they were nutritionally knowledgeable, but who didn’t have healthy eating habits, reacted more positively to images of “junk food” than images of healthy food. I have certainly fallen into that category.

“They know the consequences of eating unhealthy foods,” said the study’s author, Narine Yegiyan, an assistant professor of communication. “They are almost there in terms of willingness to give them up, but they are biologically struggling with it.”

She said the findings are important in shaping healthy eating campaigns aimed at these people who are prime candidates for eating behavior change.

Because this group initially responds positively to junk food images, healthy eating messages must be carefully crafted to prevent a “boomerang effect,” she said.

“Showing a picture of chips and saying ‘these are bad for you’ may just make them grab a bag of chips,” she said. “Encouraging them to eat healthy food like broccoli and carrots would be more effective. If images of junk food are going to be used they need to be accompanied by a very strong message stating why this is bad for you.”

Otherwise such images may “transfer into an increased desire to consume the unhealthy product,” the study states.

One point I want to leave people with is that, while I am grateful for all of the support I have received since writing that personal piece, and I certainly understand the horrible health effects of diabetes, the toughest thing on a day-to-day basis is fighting lifelong eating impulses.

And that is why I stand so strongly behind this initiative, not as the solution to the problem of sugar in young people’s diets, but as the start for this community to recognize how serious a problem this is and start to change the way we eat and, more importantly, the way we feed our kids and build bad habits from day one.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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130 thoughts on “Sunday Commentary II: Mayor Heads in Right Direction on Healthy Children”

  1. Tia Will

    Thanks David, both for the initial personal story, and for this follow up piece.

    To posters who believe that this is a solution in search of a problem, or that this will have little impact, I would point out that at least some of you have also posted on other threads that “a penny saved is a penny earned” and that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

    In this instance, no one is pretending that this measure alone will solve the problem. But the problem is huge. The problem results in early preventable deaths, and in the case of prematurity, lifelong disability. The problem is real and costs us enormously individuals, as communities and as a nation.  But as with any problem that is multifactorial ( as health clearly is) the solution will come not in one dramatic proposal, but rather in multiple small steps.

    I see this proposal as a small step in the right direction. What I would hope is that it will encourage and inspire others in positions to make a change, such as the school board, the county, and private individuals and businesses to also take small,  steps towards making the default selection a healthy choice. I do not believe that there is a “wrong place” for health to be addressed. The mayor’s initiative is as good a place as any to start the process of healthy innovation.

     

  2. South of Davis

    Tia wrote:

    > I do not believe that there is a “wrong place” for health to be addressed. 

    I’m a big fan of “healthy kids” and I wish every kid in town was as healthy as my kids but I don’t think the “city” should pass laws to do this.

    I’m wondering if Tia would be OK if the “city” passed “laws” to make the “city” more like my house:

    100% ban on soda

    Making every kid run 20 miles a week

    100% ban on partially hydrogenated oils

    Make every kid ride his bike (unless it is raining or the kid is sick)

    100% ban on TV (kids don’t see any commercials for junk food)

    Walks after dinner before desert for all homes and restaurants in town

    100% ban on trans fats

    I could go on and the city could pass more laws requiring all Davis kids to go on multi-day Sierra hikes, learn to fly fish and swim year round so they were in shape for half mile swims across mountain lakes.

    If Tia is OK with LAWS to FORCE every kid in Davis do what my kids do where do we stop, is mandatory morning Tai Chi OK?

  3. Tia Will

    South of Davis

    Once again, you are portraying this as a “ban”. Nothing is being banned here.

    I would fully support all of the things that you have mentioned being offered, not as the default, but rather as something that had to be requested specifically. That is the proposal. There is no suggestion of a ban here which makes the entirety of your post irrelevant to the issue at hand.

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > Once again, you are portraying this as a “ban”. Nothing is being banned here.

      Are you trying to tell me that a “potential ordinance changing default beverages on the children’s menu away from soda and high fructose juice” would not BAN restaurants from having soda and high fructose juice as the default beverage on the children’s menu?

        1. hpierce

          Have you,or anyone else who supports this, figured out how local franchisees will deal with a “menu”, particularly a printed one, that is unique to Davis, yet promulgated/published by corporate?  I see significant potential problems here, where voluntary compliance with the ordinance, by local franchisees, may cost them their franchise.

          Have you ever tried to order a “Coke”, where the company/franchise has an exclusive contract with PepsiCo?  Now imagine if the “big two” find out that they aren’t first ‘in the batting order’.  These are likely realities that should be investigated/considered before going too far down this path.

        2. Miwok

          Considering the big money, Coke machines at UC Davis are being replaced by Pepsi machines.. How much money are governments losing if they kick them all out? Those machines have water and juice and they are “kid height” buttons. When I eat at a sandwich shop, I see the worst stuff on the top shelf, Sun Chips and other options at “kid height”.

          Isn’t that a way to encourage healthy choices?

  4. Don Shor

    I don’t think most people disagree that there is a problem of healthy choices. I still think that having the council direct staff to make up a sample ordinance to be debated by the council and then implemented somehow on local restaurants is not the most effective or efficient way to work on this problem. As I’ve said before: Dan Wolk can call the owners and managers of local restaurants himself and see what actions they would be willing to take voluntarily to help provide healthier options. If David Greenwald shares this concern, he can help make those phone calls.

    Please: stop using staff resources on pet projects like this. City staff has been reduced by 20 – 25%. The ‘waste of time’ issue has to do with the amount of staff time expended on researching, writing, and revising the law. It has to do with making staff do outreach on something that the mayor himself could do outreach on (and probably much more effectively). Enacting another complaint-enforced law potentially increases the use of staff resources.

    If we’re going to streamline city government, reducing the amount of stuff they do is part of that process.

    1. Tia Will

      Don

      stop using staff resources on pet projects like this. “

      I think that the term “pet project” is very telling. It is a false trivialization of a major problem. You call it that because it is not of great importance to you. Well, the condition of the roads is not as  important to me as it seems to be to many. To me, health is a much more important issue than is the quality of our streets. However, I do not call the roads “pet projects” of those who want a smoother ride and their cars to last longer. I recognize it for the problem for many which it is.

      Health is not a trivial issue. It is not solely an individual issue. If we had the ability to count up all of the hidden costs of dealing with all of the preventable illnesses, hospitalizations, and loss productivity due to obesity related illnesses, I can virtually guarantee you that it would exceed the costs of repair of our roads, but because the cost is hidden or defined as individual, we simply do not count it, but rather place it in our permanent “unmet needs” category. Ignoring, or trivializing the issue does not make it go away. As a society, we need to be taking this on, not just glossing over it.

      1. Don Shor

        I really think that we should plant more trees in Davis. Did you know that there are streets that don’t have a good canopy of shade trees? Trees are good for people, for the environment, and help reduce energy use. I could provide ample documentation about the impact of trees on the well-being of communities. We don’t have enough trees planted in many parts of Davis. This is a real priority for me. It’s not a trivial issue.
        How do you suggest I go about solving this problem?

        1. Tia Will

          Don

          How do you suggest I go about solving this problem?”

          I agree with you that there would be a big pay off, both individually and societally to have a more complete tree canopy. I would suggest that how to best go about solving the problem would depend upon the time line that you have in mind. There are a number of ways that you could approach it.

          1. A relatively uncertain and time consuming way would be for you as an individual to identify all the streets that you feel are tree deficient, find out who owns the property, and try to get them as individuals to plant trees.

          2. Another possibility would be for you to bring the issue up publicly by writing letters to the editor, articles on the Vanguard, maybe do a local news interview on the benefits of trees, or table at Farmer’s Market and hope that enough people will hear you, agree, and act on your suggestion.

          3. You could try to form an alliance with an already existing group such as Cool Davis, to try to push your particular idea and hope to gain some traction that way.

          4. Or, you could try to leverage the “bully pulpit” that exists in the form of the city council. This might mean something as time restricted as using the three minutes allotted to you at public comment to bring the issue up as many times as you like hoping that enough people will pay attention and act on your suggestions to make a difference.

          5. You could do what it seems to take to truly get people’s attention to issues that are not near and dear to their own heart or pocket book and which they do not consider to be “real issues”. And that is to convince 3 members of the city council that your idea has enough merit to be put into the form of an ordinance.

          What seems to be consistently missing from this conversation is the concept that I agree with. I would like us to have as small a government as possible. What people seem to miss is that if everyone were willing to take the concerns of others, as well as their own “pet issues” into account, and seek ways to mitigate adverse consequences rather than just claiming they do not exist, then we really would not need governemental intervention at all. Until we get to that point, unfortunately, governmental intervention  is unfortunately frequently not only the most effective and efficient way, but often the only way to effect change.

    2. Alan Miller

      Agree 100% with Don Shor here.

      I am a huge believer in healthy choices.  Such as the ones that did not exist in my UCD dorm cafeteria in the early 80’s, known then as producing the “Freshman 15”, later helping produce diabetes.  There are substantially better choices now in the dorms.

      The venue, however, is not City government, and if the venue of any government, God willing it remain at the “available choices” and consumer information level, and not progress to bans and taxes.

  5. Barack Palin

    But how much time are we really wasting when the city council meets until 7:10 on Tuesday night with only one item on the agenda after ironically the sugary beverage item was moved onto consent?

    Is this coming from the same person who has consistently bemoaned the length of council meetings?  Now that there was one short meeting you’re going to use that as an excuse to push unneeded policies that really aren’t going to do much good if any?  As Don Shor pointed out there are other factors, such as staff time, and not just council time being wasted on this feel good measure.  Stick to the big picture and quit the social engineering.

    1. Davis Progressive

      i may be wrong, but my impression was that david’s chief complaint was the council making critical decisions late in the night when they are tired and the community has gone home.

      the other thing i have noticed is that the meetings since dan has become mayor are shorter and i can’t recall a major issue being tackled since the council came back from their summer break.

        1. Tia Will

          DP

          a feel good measure”

          I believe that this phrase is used in knee jerk to any measure that an individual does not feel impacts them directly and thus is unworthy of consideration.  But for those of us whose careers have centered around the provision of health care and recognize that the most effective and efficient form of health care is prevention, “feel good” takes on an entirely different connotation.

          Yes, this is all about “feeling good” because of a healthy lifestyle. Will Dan Wolk and I also feel good if this measure is enacted…..doubtless. But I am not going to pretend, nor allow anyone else to claim unchallenged that us “feeling good” is the point. The point is the health and well being of the children in our community. Where but in our community would be a better place to promote  day to day  healthy habits of the children who live in our community ?

        2. hpierce

          Well, Tia, sugary soft drinks, hamburgers, with cheese and “special sauce”, fries, etc. should be treated the same.  At a minimum, this should be changed to VERY lean meat (preferably, tofu, instead), low-fat cheese, and unsalted fries.  For all the effort to focus on ‘sugary drinks’, why not go for something more meaningful by broadening the effort?  Or does chlorestrol, hypertension, etc. not rise to the same concern as diabetes?

  6. Tia Will

    BP

    As stated above, I see health as an integral part of the “big picture”. And as far as “social engineering is concerned, I would say that sinking vast amounts of money into roads, thus prioritizing cars over other modes of transportation is a huge exercise in “social engineering”.

  7. Tia Will

    is not the most effective or efficient way to work on this problem.”

    If the issue is truly being effective and efficient, and the goal is improving health, I would argue that an ordinance probably is far better at both than would be first individually discussing the issue with every involved business person, likely not getting much buy in, then having to rethink and redraw up a new plan. I think that Don’s approach, while laudable and optimal, would result in people choosing to stay with the simpler status quo which has the benefits to them of not having to make any change while maximizing the profits of those who simply do not care about children’s health.

    Of course, if what one wants is no change, that would be a more effective and efficient approach.

  8. hpierce

    David/Tia…what existing City staff resources would you reassign to the “health” initiatives you support?  Firefighters/police?  Engineers/Planners? Park/street maintenance?  HR staff?  Finance staff?  Department heads?  Open space coordinator?  Recycling/solid waste?  Just not understanding where you would shift priorities FROM to loosen up resources for your “priorities”.

     

    1. Tia Will

      hpierce

      I think that this is a very reasonable question to which I do not know the answer because I do not have a detailed knowledge of the structure of the city staff and departments. I will have to defer to David on this one. However, I do have one additional thought. The people of Davis elected Dan Wolk to be mayor. Whether any given individual agrees with that decision or not is not my point. It is that I believe that as the Mayor, Mr. Wolk may be in a better position than either David or myself to know what resources he feels should be devoted to this issue. There are many, many voices on the Vanguard that feel that the sole issue before the council should be economic. I feel that this is an error and is exactly the kind of “one issue” thinking that got us into our current economic problems. The issue of lack of infrastructure maintenance was largely one of simply choosing not to look at the issue at all while focusing on other issues ( such as compensation and benefits ) pushed by very vocal groups.

      What we have now is some very vocal groups ( largely from the business and development community) who feel that their issues have been neglected. I agree that they should be heard. And so should those of us who see public health “not being heard” while representing far bigger costs in the long run which are just being buried as today’s “unmet needs”.

      1. hpierce

        Nice punt.  You know not how it should it be done, just that it SHOULD be done, and someone else is responsible to implement and make everything alright.  We should also find a way to make water go uphill, and generate a lot of surplus energy (and revenue) that would likely not be captured, in the process.  Huge benefits to Davis and to mankind.  Why the hell is the city not doing this? (After all, nature already does).

      2. Barbara King

        At 9:29 am Tia Will wrote “The people of Davis elected Dan Wolk to be mayor.”

        Have things changed recently?  As I understood it, we do not have a separate vote for mayor, but that by tradition (previously by vote of the council….sometimes….if they liked the top vote getter in the city council race) the top voter getter from one election became the Mayor Pro Tem and then became the Mayor two years later.

         

         

    2. South of Davis

      hpierce wrote:

      > David/Tia…what existing City staff resources would you

      > reassign to the “health” initiatives you support? 

      Great question since with staff cuts and 16 days in a row off for Christmas (just a few weeks after the city had 10 days in a row off for Thanksgiving) the city does not have time to work on “feel good*” measures.

      *a “feel good” measure is something outside the scope of of “normal” business that makes some people “feel good” (e.g. if a city wants to regulate soda or if Tia get’s Kaiser to pay staff to check the tire pressure of every patient before they drive home to save gas as well as save lives since each year kids die after accidents caused by under inflated tires)

      1. hpierce

        To reply to your apparent “hidden” message, actually it is 17 days, as follows:

        2 ‘alternate Fridays’ off:  A Pinkerton/Chaney initiative, where the employees work 9/80, so those two days have already been “worked”, and are not “paid leave”.  Employees did not negotiate this, it was imposed by CM/HR.

        3 weekends (Sat/Sun), for 6 days.

        4 holidays “Christmas” and its eve (but it isn’t really Christmas, as that would violate church/state – just ‘coincidence’ that it’s Dec 24 & 25).

        5 days where employees are “encouraged to take off” using vacation/comp time or leave without pay, between “Christmas (how did THAT get into the secular MOU!) and New Years”, so that they can shut CITY OFFICES down (please note that it is primarily City Office assigned staff, not those in the Corp Yards, Public Safety – many of these folks are on the job and do NOT (or cannot) take the “encouraged” leave).  City Offices’ folk basically HAVE to take their other leave off, as the facility is closed.

        Similar point was made previously, re:  Thanksgiving, where only two days were holidays (pd leave) and the rest were weekends, an ‘alternate Friday’,or “you have to take your leave when we tell you to, or go leave w/o pay”.

        For a new employee, earning 15 days vacation/year, these two “encouraged time off” events consume over 50% of your regular vacation leave.  An off-set is 2.5 “floating holidays”, which most treat as vacation, but it’s still close to 50%, at the end of the day.  Moral…don’t get hired by the City between July 1 and the end of the year, or you will be taking unpaid days off! (and, technically, you can’t earn vacation or sick leave for days that are ‘leave without pay’.)

         

        1. South of Davis

          hpierce wrote:

          > To reply to your apparent “hidden” message,

          It was not a “hidden” message I was just pointing out that if the city is going to be closed and can’t help citizens with stuff for 26 (corrected to  27 by hpierce) out of 38 days maybe it is not a good idea to take staff time to “study” a soda pop ban…

          P.S. I have no problem if Tia (or anyone else) wants to take the rest of the year off and spend her days talking to restaurant owners trying to get them to offer healthier choices to kids…

        2. Miwok

          Considering how much the City and County spends on “consultants”, I would guess the staff are unqualified for what they are hired to do, or misdirected by their managers, maybe Mr Brazil can correct this.

          How many qualified nutritionists are hired by the City to even study this problem?

          So I think it will take more money out of the budget for Consultants with an agenda similar to the people proposing change with no balance to the conversation.

      1. South of Davis

        DP wrote:

        > how about first 5 write the initiative and harriet

        > make sure that it meets legal standards?

        As an attorney, care to guess how many hours it will take to Harriet/BBK to draw something like this up and “make sure that it meets legal standards”?

        I have no idea and I’m wondering if it will be around $2K or as much as $20K?

        1. South of Davis

          DP wrote:

          > not my area of expertise.  but i would be stunned if it cost more than a few hours.

          I have never seen (or heard of) an outside law firm doing ANY new project from start to finish in a “few hours”…

  9. Tia Will

    Don

    An interesting set of presumptions on your part.”

    Actually it isn’t just presumption ( although there is some of that). We have a model for the kinds of behaviors involved, and what strategies actually make a difference. That model is smoking in public. Suggestions to business owners that second hand smoke was harmful, and that it would be better first if they created nonsmoking areas and ultimately if they did not allow smoking on their premises were met with very stiff resistance. The arguments were the same one’s we hear now. ” It won’t make a difference.” “It isn’t the place for government to be meddling”. “It will destroy my business”. “We can self regulate”.”We can’t afford to dedicate resources to this”. All of these arguments and more were dedicated to stopping the “no smoking in public enclosed spaces movement.

    But what it actually took to make a difference was multiple individuals at all levels of community involvement including private citizens, public advocates, public health officials and law makers at local, state, and the national level to make major change. And the change, if it even could be quantified would be enormous in terms of healthy years gained by those who chose to stop smoking, but much more importantly by those who did not grow up perceiving smoking as the norm and thus never started prior to the age of 17 and thus never became addicted.

    1. Don Shor

      Suggestions to business owners that second hand smoke was harmful, and that it would be better first if they created nonsmoking areas and ultimately if they did not allow smoking on their premises were met with very stiff resistance.

      In Davis?

      1. Tia Will

        Don

        I don’t know. I wasn’t here during much of the debate. I have no idea how the city council of Davis did or did not address the issue of smoking. Perhaps you or Rich could provide the details. What I do know is how it played out across the country which is a matter of well established public record complete with congressional investigation of the practices of the tobacco companies and huge lawsuits defended by those who stood to profit well after the adverse effects on health had been well documented.

        I was speaking in principle, not with specific knowledge of Davis. But until, proven wrong, my guess would be that the local Davis businesses probable would not have been unique in immediately stepping up to the plate and banning indoor smoking the minute the adverse health effects were documented.

        Any takers on what happened here locally ?

        1. hpierce

          At the end of the day, non-smoking patrons insisted on it, and the businesses, ‘followed the money’… there were other things going on, but the “bottom line”(results) was the “bottom line” (best profits).

        2. hpierce

          BTW, as I recall, there were two major groups of folks (non-smokers) who pushed the local businesses… those who disliked/were sensitive to/allergic to cigarette/cigar smoke (and advised the business they would no longer patronize them), and those former smokers who became “prohibitionists”.  As it was, it went thru a phase of “smoking/non-smoking” areas, and when business people finally figured out how HVAC systems worked, and the cleaning costs in the smoking areas, and the loss of potential business being greater by allowing smoking vs. not allowing, they made the business decision.  The main benefit of the ordinance was to give the business owners “cover” for a decision they had or wanted to implement.  They could blame the City.

        3. Miwok

          At the end of the day, non-smoking patrons insisted on it, and the businesses, ‘followed the money’… there were other things going on, but the “bottom line”(results) was the “bottom line” (best profits).

          That only applies in certain states. I have to remind myself how little has changed when I travel or go back where I grew up in the Midwest. Restaurants that have a sign but no physical barrier to the smoke, or Casinos in California is a good example. If the cigarette companies had not added all the chemicals like the companies do to milk, we might not have the problem with these kids today, or smoking.

  10. zaqzaq

    Shallow Dan is only interested in getting elected to the assembly.  This is just one more gimmick that will have zero impact on the health of our children while wasting city resources.  If you want to have a real impact ban the sale of soda to minors.  Much like an R rated movie, the parents have to purchase the soda for their child.  That would take care of soda sales in our schools.  Dan’s proposed law only puts one more burden on small businesses which sounds like it will not work.  Will the city reimburse businesses that have to maintain a stock of milk which may never be purchased if parents continue the trend of opting for soda?

    Shallow Dan again misses the point with requiring the option of low fat milk which has more sugar in it than regular vitamin D milk.  Why not opt for the healthier version?  Shallow Dan’s push for low fat milk sounds healthier to the uninformed public when he runs again for the assembly or other higher office.

    One question that I  have is what is the relationship between the children in school that are obese or cannot pass the fitness test and their economic status and their ethnicity?  How many of  these kids get the unhealthy free breakfast at school?  How many of these kids participate in athletics after school.   This information should be looked at prior  to passing yet another window dressing statute.

    Shallow Dan needs to focus on budget issues such as finding funding for the roads which are the worst in the county.

    1. Tia Will

      zaqzaq

      Without the name calling, a friend of mine recently asked me if I felt that this measure was not being politically exploited by Dan Wolk. My answer was, I don’t know, and I don’t care.

      For me it does not matter who proposes an idea if the idea itself has merit. I completely disagree with you that this will not make a difference. I do not consider this a perfect measure, but rather a small step in the right direction and a way of focusing attention on an issue of critical community importance which has up until recently basically been considered a private matter while ignoring the societal costs.

      You and I do have some points of agreement. With regard to milk, after around age two, I am unconvinced that milk in any form is an optimal choice for humans. I am not a nutritionist and realize that this is a controversial issue within the health community. However, what I would have preferred to have seen is no automatic default beverage as part of a meal package for several reasons.

      1. First, water is a precious commodity whether we like to admit that or not. I see no reason to automatically provide a beverage of any type that is destined to be discarded.

      2. From my experience in counseling thousands of women on healthier dietary choices, I have found that most do not automatically include beverages in their estimation of either daily calorie or daily sugar intake. If they do not make this mental association for themselves, I doubt that they make it for their children either.

      3. Merely having the beverage present is an inducement to drink something that the child might not have even wanted. If this is water, no harm done. If it is a sweetened drink, it is one more small dose of an addictive substance ( as Rich so appropriately pointed out on a previous thread) that will lead to the desire for more sweets.

      I also agree with you that the schools programs should be evaluated, but see no reason that these steps cannot go forward concurrently rather than saying that one issue must be addressed before the other can be.

    2. South of Davis

      zaqzaq wrote:

      > One question that I  have is what is the relationship between the

      > children in school that are obese or cannot pass the fitness test

      > and their economic status and their ethnicity? 

      Before I start I want to agree with hpierce that “name calling” does not help the debate and will have many people just skip over  zaqzaq’s post.

      In my years in Davis I have noticed that most (but not all) poor kids that get the free Pop Tarts and chocolate milk at school are MUCH fatter than the typical upper middle class Davis kids (who’s parents often have advanced degrees).

      I’m wondering how many “happy meals” a typical poor kid in Davis eats (compared to the free junk food they get at school EVERY Day and/or buy with their family EBT cards)…

      Thankfully Yolo County does not allow poor Moms to “feed” their kids at Taco Bell and Pizza Hut (like they do in Sacramento as you can see on the link below), but I think that making sure the food that the Government gives (and pays for) to poor people is healthy should be completed before they tell a private restaurant that they can’t offer a kid who just ran his first marathon (in under 3 hours) a Coke…

      http://www.dha.saccounty.net/benefits/Documents/CalFresh-Restaurant-Meals-Program-Participating-Restaurants.pdf

        1. Tia Will

          South of Davis and pierce ( in that order)

          I am fairly sure that  you are aware by now that :

          1. No one is telling a private restaurant that they can’t offer anyone anything. If the item is on the menu, it is clearly being offered. The suggestion is that it not be the automatic default. I am sure from the quality of your writing that both of you are capable of discerning this difference. And yet, you persist in misrepresenting this.

          2. “ I’m sincerely hoping that David/Tia are not asking THAT effort of City staff!”

          Well, then your wishes are fulfilled since neither David nor I have suggested anything of the kind.

        2. South of Davis

          Tia wrote:

          > No one is telling a private restaurant that they can’t offer anyone

          > anything. If the item is on the menu, it is clearly being offered.

          > The suggestion is that it not be the automatic default. 

          Correct me if I am wrong but I’m pretty sure a “potential ordinance changing default beverages on the children’s menu” is not just a “suggestion”…

          I am well aware that people can still get a coke with their happy meal I just have a problem with the Government deciding what the “automatic default” (for ANYTHING) will be.

          In bible thumping parts of the South the “automatic default” is that they tell young women who come in to hospitals pregnant that it is a sin to have an abortion.

          Wouldn’t our world be better if left wingers AND right wingers stopped telling people what the “automatic default” should be…

      1. Alan Miller

        ““name calling” does not help the debate and will have many people just skip over  zaqzaq’s post.”

        Will it?  This is a blog comment section.  Allow people to do what they do.  While I or thee may find some comments offensive, I find those correcting the offensive something even worse:

  11. Miwok

    “They know the consequences of eating unhealthy foods,” said the study’s author, Narine Yegiyan, an assistant professor of communication.

    A Professor of Communication lectures on diet and nutrition?

  12. wdf1

    hpierce: zaqzaq…suggestion… your comment would have been as correct, and more effective, had you not used “shallow” at every opportunity.

    Agreed.  Your efforts at trolling undercut the fact that you actually raised some good points.

    zaqzaq: One question that I  have is what is the relationship between the children in school that are obese or cannot pass the fitness test and their economic status and their ethnicity?

    You can find data broken down various ways, by gender and ethnicity, for physical fitness test performance.  This is a summary for 2013-14.

     

    1. hpierce

      “Your efforts at trolling undercut the fact that you actually raised some good points.”  [apparently addressed to me] Please advise where I trolled (particularly on this thread).  Not my intention, but cannot change my behavior until someone points it out to me.  I’m sincere in asking for the clarification.

  13. Anon

    David Greenwald: “Will the sugary beverage portion of the initiative make a difference by itself? Absolutely not.”

    Bingo!  You clearly concede this ordinance alone will not be effective.  Yet you are willing to push it even if it wastes city resources we don’t have.  That makes no logical sense!

    Don Shor’s idea of having Mayor Dan Wolk do outreach makes perfect sense.  Mayor Dan can not only urge restaurants to offer healthy drinks, but healthy meals.  It might shame the schools into improving their lunches.  He can be out front of an entire campaign, to encourage healthy choices for kids that might even have a chance at being effective.  If he truly believes in this cause, then he should be willing to do the work it would entail, and not slough it off onto city staff.

    As far as school lunches, it is my understanding citizens’ school parcel tax money is paying $70,000 a year to make sure kids are offered healthy alternatives in school food involving local produce cooked into their meals.  If the schools are offering kids unhealthy meals, citizens need to question the expenditure of this $70,000 a year.

    hpierce also makes an excellent point.  City employees are already short-staffed and often overworked doing the job of two people because of layoffs.  What city staff are expected to be pulled away from their current duties to work on this ordinance, which it has already been conceded will be ineffective?

    1. Davis Progressive

      “You clearly concede this ordinance alone will not be effective.  ”

      you’re clearly twisting his worst.  he said that the initiative will not make a difference by itself not that it won’t be effective.

    2. Miwok

      Don Shor’s idea of having Mayor Dan Wolk do outreach makes perfect sense.  Mayor Dan can not only urge restaurants to offer healthy drinks, but healthy meals.  It might shame the schools into improving their lunches.  He can be out front of an entire campaign, to encourage healthy choices for kids that might even have a chance at being effective.  If he truly believes in this cause, then he should be willing to do the work it would entail, and not slough it off onto city staff.

      Mr Wolk can be in front of an entire campaign, And NOT as Mayor of Davis.. Too many politicians make their agendas known only after they are elected… They also think since they were elected, they think their ideas are always supported.

      Considering ordinances and laws of this sort are irresponsible, but the City has always overreached in this regard, it has made them famous.

      Tia Will, you are burning up the keyboard today! Thank you for your views. I always enjoy reading them.

      1. Tia Will

        Miwok

        Thanks for the kind words. And now down to business.

        Considering ordinances and laws of this sort are irresponsible, but the City has always overreached in this regard, it has made them famous.”

        The was that I see this is that not considering ordinances and laws of this sort is what is irresponsible. We clearly have very different visions of what lies within the realm of community leaders. I believe that they have a responsibility to weigh in on any issues that are seen as of importance to the community. Many of you believe that the roads are of importance. I believe that the health of the citizenry is of even more importance. So who amongst us except the elected leaders should make the call on whose interests are worth pursuing  and whose are not ?

    3. wdf1

      Anon: As far as school lunches, it is my understanding citizens’ school parcel tax money is paying $70,000 a year to make sure kids are offered healthy alternatives in school food involving local produce cooked into their meals.  If the schools are offering kids unhealthy meals, citizens need to question the expenditure of this $70,000 a year.

      The criticism that has been raised in David Greenwald’s experience has been about the quality of breakfast offerings to recipients of the free/reduced lunch (& breakfast) program.

      I understand the school parcel tax was constructed so that it would benefit all students.  School lunches are available to all students.  School breakfasts, I understand, are only available to free/reduced students, and only where there is a high enough percentage of a school population.  School breakfasts are not covered by the school parcel tax.

      A valid point that it should be discussed in future school parcel tax proposals.

      1. Anon

        I have some questions for you:

        1.  So it is okay for breakfast to low income kids to be unhealthy?  Why doesn’t the school parcel tax cover breakfast for low income kids, or are they somehow less worthy of healthy meals?  (I think I already know the answer to this one, but go ahead and explain anyway.)

        2. Are the school lunches healthy?  Do they still serve nacho chips, corn dogs, fried chicken tenders, greasy pizza, ketchup as a vegetable, as they did when my kids went to school?  From what I can tell from the discussion threads here, school lunches are not all that nutritious, e.g. chocolate milk.  If that is the case, we need to rethink where that $70,000 a year of parcel tax money is going.

        3.  Exactly what is the $70,000 a year spent on precisely?  Actual food, or to pay the salary of a healthy food expert to teach cafeteria staff how to cook healthy food, or both?

        1. wdf1

          Anon: 1.  So it is okay for breakfast to low income kids to be unhealthy?

          Of course it isn’t okay.

          Why doesn’t the school parcel tax cover breakfast for low income kids, or are they somehow less worthy of healthy meals? 

          I don’t know for certain, but I suspect that the politics surrounding school parcel taxes has been to try to fund programs broadly so that they don’t specifically favor one demographic subset of the student population.  I understand that schools are obligated to provide school lunches for anyone who requests it and is able to pay whatever rate they’re suppose to pay.  That’s not the case with school breakfast, which are only available to students participating in the free/reduced lunch program, and when there is a high enough number of such students at a school site.

          For now I think an interesting and possibly more productive solution might be through the LCAP — the Local Control Action Plan.  [IMO, this has been an under-reported change in school funding, both here at the Vanguard and at the Enterprise.  It allows for local school districts to designate what state funds for “higher needs” students (ELL, special ed., lower income families, etc.)].  If LCAP cannot improve the situation, then I think the conversation probably needs to move to the school parcel tax or other resources.

          2. Are the school lunches healthy? 

          I’ve personally eaten a couple of school lunches in Davis, and I think it is better than what was offered in schools when I was in grade school.  But I’ll let you decide.   I cannot find any weekly menu of school lunches anywhere, but what I could find was a list of the calories in all the menu items that the district offers.  Here‘s that list.  It doesn’t indicate how frequently each item is served, though.

          3.  Exactly what is the $70,000 a year spent on precisely?  Actual food, or to pay the salary of a healthy food expert to teach cafeteria staff how to cook healthy food, or both?

          I don’t know.  I suspect both.  If you are really interested, you could contact Bruce Colby, head of financial services in the school district, and he could tell you.

        2. South of Davis

          Anon asks:

          > So it is okay for breakfast to low income kids to be unhealthy?

          Then wdf1 wrote:

          > Of course it isn’t okay.

          If it is “not OK” why are we killing the poor kids in Davis by feeding them chocolate milk, fruit loops, chocolate graham cracker cookies and pop-tarts for breakfast?

        3. wdf1

          SoD: If it is “not OK” why are we killing the poor kids in Davis by feeding them chocolate milk, fruit loops, chocolate graham cracker cookies and pop-tarts for breakfast?

          The equation for a poor diet in American comes down to the fact that a single Twinkie is cheaper than  a stalk of fresh broccoli.  In spite of being less healthy, a Twinkie is tastier, generally more ready to eat, and has more calories.

          I agree that it’s a problem, but I am heartened by your concern.  What will you be doing to follow through?

    4. Tia Will

      Anon

      Bingo!  You clearly concede this ordinance alone will not be effective.  Yet you are willing to push it even if it wastes city resources we don’t have.  That makes no logical sense!”

      Well you may be elated because you interpret David’s statement as conceding that it will not be effective. I strongly disagree. I believe that having to opt in to deleterious behavior rather than having to opt out sends a very powerful message and has the ability to incentivize people to choose the heathier option rather than defaulting to that which is less healthy. This makes it a conscious rather than thoughtless decision to make the worst possible choice. Making the best choice the default has been shown in multiple areas of life including employer matching savings plans and probably many others that those of you  more financially savvy than I could name to be effective. So why we would we just assume that such a positive or neutral rather than deleterious default “not be effective”?

       

  14. Clem Kadiddlehopper

    It’s the fast food advertising’s fault.
    It’s the large drink size fault.
    It’s the soda can’s fault.

    Until folks fess up and accept take the responsibility, and realize that they have to take the difficult road, this won’t change. Someone or something else will always be the fault for their children’s obesity.

    1. Tia Will

      Clem

      Until folks fess up and accept take the responsibility, and realize that they have to take the difficult road, this won’t change.”

      Just because individual parents are not owning the responsibility for providing healthy food does not mean that businesses and communities cannot steer children in a healthier direction by providing healthy defaults, or no default at all. Since when is it a terrible burden to simply not provide a sweetened drink without even being asked to ?

      1. Miwok

        I am out fairly often at a variety of places described as “fast food” and I see parents guide the choices of the children and even when they are by themselves, I see them choosing the sugar free drinks.

        Since you may not see this I thought I would point it out, and mention these kids are old enough to reach the drink machines and I am always curious what they choose.

  15. Frankly

    As a healthy and quality food snob, my libertarian self is at internal war with the part of me that wants all kids to get as near a perfect launch into adulthood as possible.  BUT….I don’t want the nanny state to take over for stupid parents except for two things:

    1. Ensuring adequate choices are available.

    2. Education.

    I fact, if liberals would work on injecting this principle into their myopic “save the world from itself” though processes, we would have many more opportunities for the people of left and right variety to work together and solve some problems.

    But…. please… STOP TELLING ME AND EVERYONE ELSE WHAT WE CAN AND CANNOT DO!!!!!!

    Because it just makes we want to punch you when you do… both figuratively and literally.   Of course I won’t literally punch you, I will just imagine it in my dreams… and also dream of ways I can make your life as miserable as you are trying to make mine… which in the end is the essence of why we cannot solve problems together.

    So, please just work on providing as much choice as possible and educating people to make the healthiest of choices.

    And when we make the choices available and we adequately educate, those that still go off and eat crap and die are evidence that Darwin was absolutely correct.  And the God-less liberals out there should understand this and except it unless they believe that they themselves are the divine intervention that can save the world from itself.  They are not, and they cannot… so JUST STOP TRYING BECAUSE YOU ARE MAKING ME MAD!!!!

    1. wdf1

      Frankly:   BUT….I don’t want the nanny state to take over for stupid parents except for two things:

      1. Ensuring adequate choices are available.

      2. Education.

      Davis Farm to School is all about that (the two things you list). Except for the issue of healthy breakfast for low income families.  I understand that it was the agenda of Davis Farm to School to have the healthy lunch component to the school parcel tax.  Have you contacted them up to see about getting involved?

    2. Alan Miller

      “I don’t want the nanny state to take over for stupid parents except for two things:  1. Ensuring adequate choices are available.  2. Education.”

      Amen, Frank Lee, amen.

      The only saving grace is the state doesn’t have the resources the take over .  . . . . . yet.

      We live in a society where the norm for many is social acceptability in making extremely poor food choices in public and yacking about it.  At the office, employees put out cookies and cake for cubicle crustaceans to feed upon, taking seconds and talking about how “good” it is.  I would feel embarrassed to speak of the consumption of empty calories in that way.  These same people are parents, and create new little people who duplicate this view of excessive poor food consumption.

      Education and healthy available choices are constructive. That is universal, not a City issue. Locally, a politician who truly believes this can sway more people with their charisma than with an ordinance, and such an approach would set them apart and help them politically as well.

  16. Tia Will

    Frankly

    JUST STOP TRYING BECAUSE YOU ARE MAKING ME MAD!!!!”

    Well, I guess that completely, objectively, rationally and unemotionally settles it. I should not have the right to state my opinions because I am upsetting you and am the direct cause of your emotional state and outburst.

     

    1. Frankly

      Yeah, but I feel better now that I have thrown my tantrum.  I am learning from my lefty friends!

      Now, please feel free to state your opinions because frankly (because I am) I am back to my my same ol’ objective and unemotional self.

  17. Tia Will

    South of Davis

    I just have a problem with the Government deciding what the “automatic default” (for ANYTHING) will be.”

    I am not clear on how far you are willing to take this. Do you believe that the government should not be able to control any drug use ? So using heroin should be legal ? How about prostitution, should that be legal ? How about setting appropriate speed limits ? Should doctors be able to prescribe any substance regardless of danger or demonstrated lack of efficacy ?   I am not trying to be snide. Just trying to ascertain what you consider the limits of governmental authority and responsibility.

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > I am not clear on how far you are willing to take this.

      > Do you believe that the government should not be able

      > to control any drug use ? So using heroin should be legal ? 

      I never said the Government should not make “laws” I just don’t think they should pick the “automatic default” on ANYTHING.

      Say the Government decides (after a few million in campaign contributions) that Tylenol is the “automatic default” and is what OB/GYNs need to offer women with PMS unless they ask for Midol.

      Should the Government decide that defaf with soy milk is the “automatic default” when someone asks for a “coffee” at a diner?

      1. Tia Will

        South of Davis

        Should the Government decide that defaf with soy milk is the “automatic default” when someone asks for a “coffee” at a diner?”

        This is not even close to what is being proposed. If someone asks for a soda, under this provision, that is what they would get. Do you suppose that a restaurant is going to just bring you coffee whether you ask for it or not.  Then why should they just supply a harmful substance automatically to children, but not coffee to you anytime you order dinner ?

  18. Anon

    It sounds to me like a more productive avenue to pursue is improving school meals.  That is where the kids are eating every weekday for sure.  Worrying about whether they get a sugary drink on an occasional night out to a restaurant will not solve anything, as has been conceded by the author of this article.  Not to mention the cost of such an do-nothing ordinance.  I could get behind changing school meals, because that would make a difference.

      1. Anon

        So you think this sugary drink ordinance is going to stop/discourage low income folks from feeding their kids sugary drinks at fast food restaurants?  Really?  Dream on.  It would seem to me a much better way to attack the problem is to get kids to eat a decent breakfast/lunch at school, so their eating habits are actually changed for the better.  And thus they are more likely to want to reach for healthy food options given the opportunity to eat elsewhere outside the school grounds.  Furthermore, the schools can point out to students how important it is to choose healthy eating options, to stave off terrible diseases like diabetes.  A trip to the diabetic wing of the nearest hospital would be a real eye opener.  The schools should lead by example – clean up their own act.  I have had a beef (pardon the pun!) about school meals for years.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          That’s not really what I said. The sugary drink initiative at least makes the parents decide to give their kids sugary drinks. I agree with your other points, though I doubt very much that a trip to a diabetic wing would change people’s attitudes – too disconnected.

    1. Tia Will

      Anon

      And what if it isn’t an occasional meal out. What if virtually all the child’s meals are fast food as is true for some families in which both parents work full time. Still harmless.

      What would be wrong with addressing this both in the schools and in restaurants ? If you concede that these are harmful to children, why justify the harm in one circumstance, but not in the other ?

       

        1. Tia Will

          hpierce

          You’ve gone from ‘sugary drinks’ to “fast food” in general.”

          Neither are healthy, but one has to start some place. I believe that this is merely one step in the right direction as I have already said.

  19. Anon

    To Frankly: It was only a matter of time after the bag ban that certain liberals in this town would think of something else to ban.  These folks’ need to look like they are doing something will never end.  Now notice I did not make the egregious mistake of saying all liberals. 😉

    1. Barack Palin

      It was only a matter of time after the bag ban that certain liberals in this town would think of something else to ban.

      Exactly Anon, that’s the plan.  Just look at this quote from earlier today, just small steps one at a time:

      But as with any problem that is multifactorial ( as health clearly is) the solution will come not in one dramatic proposal, but rather in multiple small steps.

       

      1. Tia Will

        BP

        But as with any problem that is multifactorial ( as health clearly is) the solution will come not in one dramatic proposal, but rather in multiple small steps.”

        And do you actually disagree that complex problems frequently need to be dealt with in small steps or are you simply having fun expounding on a non existent conspiracy theory ?

    2. Tia Will

      Anon

      It was only a matter of time after the bag ban that certain liberals in this town would think of something else to ban.”

      This is very disappointing coming from you. It is the complete abandonment of fact that I expect from some posters here….but not from you. You have the ability to discern the difference between an item not automatically provided and a “ban” and yet you are willfully choosing to falsely characterize this. I would have expected better from you.

      1. South of Davis

        Tia wrote:

        > You have the ability to discern the difference between

        > an item not automatically provided and a “ban” 

        No one said they are “banning” soda pop they are  proposing to”ban” restaurants from giving it to people that don’t “specifically ask for it”.

        I wonder how Tia would you feel if the “automatic default” was to tell a woman that asks about birth control to “abstain from sex” (and you could only offer her the pill or another form of birth control if she “specifically asked for it”)?

        P.S. Before you say my question is not realistic it is something that is actually in place in many red states…

    3. Frankly

      “Certain liberals” is a more accurate point.  But like a militant Islamist, does not the so called peaceful devout Muslim that fails to speak out against his more violent cohort just perpetuate the problem by demanding a distinction? Wouldn’t it be better to have the more moderate insider work toward moderation of his full group?

      1. Don Shor

        Wouldn’t it be better to have the more moderate insider work toward moderation of his full group?

        I’m sure this quote is going to come in handy in one of our future discussions of national politics.

    4. South of Davis

      First they came for the single use bags, and I did not speak out—Because our family has plenty of reusable bags…

      Then they came for the soda pop, and I did not speak out— Because our family does not drink soda pop…

      Then they came for the Sonoma County old vine Zin –
      and now I have to drink beer on weekends…

  20. Mark West

    This proposed ordinance is simply a ‘do nothing’ proposition that is designed to make certain people feel good about advocating for children’s health, without doing anything productive to actually improve children’s health. It is a complete waste of time and money and will have absolutely no impact on the health of the children in our community.

     

     

     

  21. Tia Will

    It is a complete waste of time and money and will have absolutely no impact on the health of the children in our community.”

    And this was the same argument used against stopping cigarette smoking in private businesses. Only one problem with this theory. As part of a multi pronged, concerted effort, it worked.

      1. Tia Will

        hpieerce

        A few thoughts on this issue:

        1. There is already apparently a joint effort sponsored by Brett Lee, Alan Pryor working in conjunction with  CommuniCare taking on this issue since this is the way that City Council chose to go with respect to dental health.I have not yet seen any data on this project, but it may be too soon.

        2. Yours is an excellent point. Dental health is important and  cutting back on sweetened beverages would probably do more for dental care in terms of prevention than would all the fluoride, dental appointments, tooth brushing and flossing combined. So far this proposal has been characterized only as preventing obesity, but the dental health benefits of reducing sugar consumption would be enormous.

        3. I think that people think too narrowly about health issues. A number of posters have written some equivalent of “wouldn’t it be better to do ….”, and my answer is, “why not do both” ? There is plenty of room for improvement in the state of our health currently. We have room to work at the level of the schools, we can educate children and parents, we can provide a better business climate for health by not actively encouraging the worst choices, we can foster an environment in which exercise is valued over the convenience of getting in our car every time we want to leave our own block. There are many, many steps that could be taken. Of course some will prove more effective and efficient than others. But I don’t think that a proven beneficial model should be discarded out of hand because someone’s sensibilities are offended.

    1. Mark West

      I don’t recall a single initiative against smoking where the impetus was to change the default choice between, let us say, low tar cigarettes and regular for your after dinner smoke.  That is what this proposed ordinance provides, a change in a default choice.  It will have no impact on children’s health, just as changing the default choice would have had no impact on the incidence of smoking.  Your analogy is specious.

      Removing/reducing sweeteners in our food supply would be a tremendous benefit to society and well worth the effort. It still would not rise to something worthy of the City Council’s time.  Changing the default beverage choice at local food establishments is a do nothing, feel good project that will have absolutely no impact on children’s health, no matter how much grandstanding the good Doctor provides for our entertainment.

      This is not an appropriate priority for the City Council.

       

       

       

      1. Gunrocik

        What Mark West said!

        As I said a week or two ago, this is not a local issue.  Public Health is under the purview of the County — where they have a boatload of staff focused on these sorts of issues — and where they have the most overstaffed and overcompensated Board of Supervisors in the State and so if this is a priority of the City of Davis — Provenza and Saylor have the horsepower to address this.

        Our Mayor (a Solano County employee) is well aware of this division of powers.  This is blatant political grandstanding on the Mayor’s part — hoping to curry favor for his next campaign for higher office.  It is malpractice on the part of the Mayor to divert the City’s limited sources towards his personal agenda.

        I appreciate the passion many of you have for this issue — but you are actually rewarding bad behavior and reducing the chances of change by letting Dan exploit your issue in the wrong forum.

        1. Tia Will

          Gunrocik

          I do not agree that health measures have to be fragmented or relegated to the county. I sit on three of the county council’s and boards that deal with public health issues. One concern that arises frequently is how to better integrate and collaborate with officials on the local level where the decisions often actually occur. It also seems a little strange to me that those who frequently argue against “big government” and centralization of government, are very willing to cede what could be dealt with locally to the county. I think that collaborative efforts often  trump fragmentation and top down requirements and regulations in terms of both efficacy and efficiency.

        2. Gunrocik

           It also seems a little strange to me that those who frequently argue against “big government” and centralization of government, are very willing to cede what could be dealt with locally to the county.

           

          Doctor Will: Our County government is our local government when it comes to public health.  You have two of the five supervisors who represent the City of Davis.

          This is an area where the Mayor and Council do not have the authority or the resources.  The County certainly can communicate and coordinate with both the City and the School District — but it is going nowhere as a city initiative — they don’t have any authority or staff.

          I don’t know why this is so hard for you and others to understand.

           

  22. Tia Will

    hpierce

    If the ‘partner’ institutes the abstinence, the correct quote is, “abstinence makes the heart go wander”.

    As a doctor and former instructor of anatomy, I fear you have identified the wrong organ as doing the wandering.

  23. Tia Will

    Some thoughts for all my conservative and libertarian friends on the issue of individual private choices and their very public costs.

    1. You are already paying for these private choices of your fellow citizens and yet are acting as though you are not aware of it.

    2. You pay in terms of  health care costs. Every time someone without comprehensive health care insurance which covers preventive care along with emergency care gets diagnosed with a tooth abscess, or diabetes or cardiovascular disease as well as certain forms of cancer gets diagnosed, you pay. ( Breast cancer risk increases in obese women over the age of 50). One of the most expensive forms of care is the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where the costs run in the tens of thousands daily for one premature baby. One risk of obesity is premature delivery. Even though you don’t get the bill in the mail…..you pay. And in the cue of extreme prematurity with its risks of both physical and mental disability, you will pay for the rest of that baby’s life.

    3. You pay in taxes for health care for the underinsured. You pay in terms of decreased educational benefit from the taxes you pay to support the schools since kids learn better when they are not crashing from their sugary breakfasts ( regardless of whether it is provided by the school, their parents, or the local fast food restaurant) or out of class getting their cavities filled.You pay in terms of decreased productivity of your employees, increased sick days and increased insurance costs for your employees.

    It is my guess that if you were monthly or annually handed a bill directly with your personal share of the costs for taking care of the mess made by the poor dietary decisions promoted by “special deals”, “super sizing”, packaging junk together and calling it a meal….many of you would be demanding that something be done. Now the something that you might want done might be that we simply do not provide any care for these individuals. But unless you are willing to accept people turned away from hospitals and dying on the side of the road or in the house next door to you or me, then you will pay for these services whether you want to admit that you are paying or not.

    Now we will still all pay either way. But we can chose to pay a little by supporting preventive health measures , or we can chose to pay a lot by making supreme everyone’s “freedom” to poison their own children and the right of businesses to aide and abet them for in making these poor decisions for personal profit. The choice is ours individually and as a community.

     

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > Now we will still all pay either way. But we can chose to pay a

      > little by supporting preventive health measures 

      The cost of health care to fat kids is nothing compared to the cost of Social Security and Medicare to seniors that live to 90.  We will pay LESS if everyone dies before they turn 65 (I’m not a conspiracy theory guy but maybe there is a reason a country with no money in their Social Security trust fund is feeding kids at school Pop Tarts, Fruit Loops and Chocolate Milk every day).

      P.S. Tia says she is “data driven” yet I’m sure there will not be any statistical difference in the health care cost of one group of kids that has a Coke with their McDonalds Happy Meal 10 times a year and another group that has a Nonfat Milk with their 10 Happy Meals…

  24. Tia Will

    South of Davis

    Tia says she is “data driven” yet I’m sure there will not be any statistical difference in the health care cost of one group of kids that has a Coke with their McDonalds Happy Meal 10 times a year and another group that has a Nonfat Milk with their 10 Happy Meals…

    Perhaps not. But you have cherry picked your “data”. What about a group of children that get that soda ( or its equivalent) three times a day. “Juice” and or chocolate milk for breakfast, chocolate milk or a soda with lunch and a soda with dinner. I think that because you do not follow this diet yourself, you are underestimating ( by orders of magnitude if one considers the drinks that I see people brining in to my office daily) how prevalent these choices are.

    My own family can be seen as a microcosm of the problem in our society. My sister and I were both raised by the same mother. My mother knew nothing about nutrition. She did  not see any problem with stocking Coke in the house as our default beverage. Candy bars were kept in a kitchen drawer and freely available whenever we wanted a snack. When I left home, I dramatically changed my eating and exercise habits and am healthy, if not optimally fit ( working on it) at 62. My sister became addicted. Breakfast for her consists of a pastry and a Coke every morning. Most days go downhill from there. She is paying the consequence not in terms of early death, but of debilitated life.

    Which brings me to your second point. It is true that early death is more cost effective than is life with multiple medical problems. What you are not considering is that long life free of disability is much, much less expensive than with disability. Medical and social costs are not solely dependent upon age, but upon health at any given age. The prematurely born infant costs much more medically than does the independently living, healthy 80 year old. Prevention of disease and disability is much more cost effective than is treatment of preventable illness regardless of age.

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote:

      > Perhaps not. But you have cherry picked your “data”. What about a

      > group of children that get that soda ( or its equivalent) three times a day. 

      There is NO “group of children” that get soda (or its equivalent) three times a day” at Davis restaurants (remember this “Happy Meal Soda Ban” is only targeting Davis “restaurants” and will do nothing to stop parents from serving Coke for breakfast lunch and dinner at home).

      I actually have a close friend who owns multiple fast food restaurants (none in Yolo County) who flies back to Oak Brook, IL to lecture at Hamburger U (with actual data) every year.  If you have data that a GROUP of children in Davis ” get that soda ( or its equivalent) three times a day” at restaurants in town please let us know where you got the “data” (or you can let us know that you just made up a fictional “group of children”)…

      1. Tia Will

        South of Davis

        Not sure if you are being honest in your enquiry, or just being obstinate. I have known many,many women in  my career who start every day with a huge sweetened beverage . I have also known many moms who reward their children regularly, not as a special treat with sweets and sodas. So, can I provide you with a limited demographic group that can be specifically targeted ? No. But that is part of the issue. Making the default the healthy choice means that you do not need to target the exact population since any benefit wiill pertain to all.

        1. South of Davis

          Tia wrote:

          > Not sure if you are being honest in your enquiry [sic]

          > or just being obstinate. 

          No I really want to  know if you have data that a GROUP of children in Davis ” gets soda (or its equivalent) three times a day” at restaurants in town please let us know where you got the “data” (or you can let us know that you just made up a fictional “group of children”)…

          Since it sounds like the best you could do was tell us about “many many woman” (who would not be covered by the default beverage ordinance) and “many moms who reward their children regularly with with sweets and sodas” (who would not be covered by the default beverage ordinance) I’m assuming that you were just making up a fictional group of children who eat three meals a day at restaurants in town now who might be helped by a “default beverage” with less sugar…

          Reply

      2. Tia Will

        I want to be really clear. When I used the word “group”, I was not using it in the sense of a group like the Girl Scouts, or a select soccer team. So no, in that sense I do not have the data on how many children are fed in this fashion. However, I do know from my experiences working for 30 years with women in my clinic, with pediatricians recounting their experiences in trying to educate parents on nutrition one at a time, by the accounts of social workers who go into homes where the only clean room in the house is the kitchen except for the trash overflowing with fast food containers because it has never been cooked in, from the eating and drinking habits of some of my children’s friends and team mates during 15 years of school and sports outings, that eating fast food as the norm, not as an occasional treat is much more prevalent in our highly educated community than many care to acknowledge. So yes, in the broader sense, there is a group in the sense of more than a small number of people who do feed their children poor choices on a regular basis.

        If you don’t believe this, try something very simple. Look in the grocery carts of people who are shopping with children and look at the amount of soda, or gatorade, or fruit flavored beverages, or beverages with the word fruit somewhere on the packaging. So no, I do not have a defined group or number to quote. But the evidence is all around us. All  you have to do is look.

  25. Anon

    “This proposed ordinance is simply a ‘do nothing’ proposition that is designed to make certain people feel good about advocating for children’s health, without doing anything productive to actually improve children’s health. It is a complete waste of time and money and will have absolutely no impact on the health of the children in our community.”

    Spot on!

    “This is very disappointing coming from you. It is the complete abandonment of fact that I expect from some posters here….but not from you. You have the ability to discern the difference between an item not automatically provided and a “ban” and yet you are willfully choosing to falsely characterize this. I would have expected better from you.”

    It bans restaurants from choosing exactly what to put on their menus.

  26. Robb Davis

    Just to be painfully clear… no one is banning anything.  Most public health interventions are a series of small steps that add up to a change in behavior and health improvement.  The most effective interventions are those that require little personal behavior modification because behavior change is hard.  So… if you offer a different default on a high sugar content menu item, you open a door to a behavior change without limiting anyone’s choice.  Is it the only solution?  Is it the best solution?  No and no. But, it is part of the solution for reducing obesity and Type II diabetes which cost all of us a tremendous amount. According to The Economist

    Rich countries devote 2-7% of their health spending to the problem (of obesity), and up to 20% if you include treatment of associated diseases, such as diabetes.

    They also note the following (based on a study by McKinsey Global Institute):

    (The study) looks at 74 anti-obesity measures around the world, and judges the cost and impact of the 44 for which there were sufficient data. None alone could do much, it concludes, but all 44 together could mean about a fifth of overweight people achieving a reasonable waistline within five to ten years.

    The interventions range from nudges (making healthy eating choices easier) to shoves (taking poor eating choices away). The most effective would force food producers and restaurants to make servings smaller and limit fatty ingredients. Others are less paternalistic, such as having grocery stores promote healthy products instead of sugary ones. But leaving it to individuals to slim down through dieting and exercise without any such help, MGI concludes, consistently fails. (emphasis added)

    So, I understand (as does The Economist) the distaste some Americans have for “paternalistic” approaches but such approaches can be very effective and they reduce health expenditures.

    1. South of Davis

      Robb wrote:

      > Just to be painfully clear… no one is banning anything. 

      Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe an ad that said: “Kids meal with Nuggets called Chicken, Fries and Coke $1.99” would be banned.

      If there would be no change to what “restaurants” can put in “Happy Meals” please let us know since most people believe that Cokes will be banned as the default beverage in kids meals.

      Bonus questions for Robb:

      Are free bags banned in Davis?

      Are plastic grocery bags banned in Davis?

      1. Don Shor

        I guess it’s sort of a definition of what you mean by ‘ban’. They can still get the coke. I wonder how the fast-food chains would deal with this issue, whether the managers have authority to change the menu in any way in a franchise. Somebody should call them and ask.

  27. TrueBlueDevil

    I think the Davis City Council should just step up to the plate and go for the Full Monty. Go for it all.

    1. Ban mayonnaise.

    2. Ban the sale of sugar, and salt.

    3. Eliminate butter as a local choice.

    4. Ban all candy, unless it has more than 50% dark chocolate.

    5. Ban chicken mcnuggets and all fried foods. (I understand that this might bee seen as racist by some, but we’re after the greater good here.)

    6. Ban Crisco; ban the sale of deep fryers.

    7. Set up check points so that when shoppers come back from Costco, we ban the importation of such foods.

    8. Close all fast food places.

    We’ll still get clogged arteries like the Ice Age Man, but we’ll still feel good about ourselves. And when the kids get the urge for a treat, we can sneak out to Dixon or Woodland.

  28. Tia Will

    Gunrocik

    Our County government is our local government when it comes to public health.  You have two of the five supervisors who represent the City of Davis.”

    I understand very clearly the way that things are currently structured. That does not mean that I believe that this is the best or the only way to approach complex issues. I am often accused by those on the right as being obstructionist. I think that this equally applies to those who cannot understand that there may be a much bigger role for collaboration between county and local municipalities in the area of health as well as in other areas such as water, or law enforcement, or public safety in the form of  fire fighters.

    Just because we have chosen to divide responsibilities into silos does not mean that this is the most efficient or effective alternative. What I cannot understand is why those who claim that they are in favor of change in our community seem only willing to promote the changes that are important to them, but to consistently oppose change proposed by others. Consider the push back from the firefighter union and certain public officials when a major change in favor of collaboration was proposed. And yet, by the numbers, the new, collaborative system turns out to be objectively superior according to the data provided here on the Vanguard.

    What we have time and money for depends on what one considers to be most important . There is nothing more important to me than health, wellness and safety, both individual and community.And I would posit that my concerns are as valid as those of any other citizen in the long run. I pay the same taxes as everyone else, and should have an equal ( not greater ) say in the priorities expressed to the city council. If the mayor, or any council member happens to agree with my priorities, it is no different than if they agree with yours. I have just as much right to advocate for my priorities as do you or any citizen. I find it difficult to understand what you do not understand about that.

     

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