Santa Cruz Good Times

Oct 04th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Town Hall with Sen. Bill Monning

bill MonningHow do poor health and nutrition (and its outcomes, such as obesity and diabetes) impact our local economies and workforces?

Obesity, preventable diabetes, and other chronic conditions are all costly diseases that can stem from poor health and nutrition. Obesity has been linked to an increased incidence of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer. These conditions account for as much as $209.7 billion a year in U.S. medical expenditures, or 20.6 percent of all money spent on healthcare in the United States.

In addition to the healthcare costs that local economies must absorb, obesity-related conditions have indirect costs, such as decreasing worker productivity. The institution of public health strategies aimed at preventing obesity and other chronic diseases can help to reverse the negative health impacts that can reduce life expectancy, the quality of life, and the economy as a whole.

How important will improving Californians’ health be to the future of the state?

Improving health and wellbeing is critical, but often overlooked. If the state can achieve a modest reduction in the prevalence of obesity and increase Californians’ physical activity by just 5 percent a year, the savings achieved would be approximately $2.4 billion annually.

In order to achieve these savings and improve Californians’ health, we need to invest in a variety of public health measures designed to promote healthy eating and physical activity. For example, there are many disadvantaged neighborhoods where there is limited access to healthful foods and safe recreation. Opening markets, parks, and even community gardens in these neighborhoods can have lasting positive health impacts and lead to improved health outcomes. 

What needs to change to improve the societal burdens incurred from these conditions?

Current trends in preventable illness and disease are leading to reduced life expectancy and poor quality of life. Our current healthcare system has been built on the treatment of illness and disease and we need a paradigm shift that will focus on the promotion of health and wellness. To achieve this goal, more must be invested in public health campaigns that protect people’s health, as well as guard against the impacts of massive market saturation of unhealthful products. For federal healthcare reform to succeed in building healthier communities, health promotion and illness prevention is key.    

How does your proposed soda tax fit into this?

Senate Bill 622, a proposed tax on sugary drinks, is not a cure-all, but it can be a valuable tool in a broader public health campaign. The evidence is conclusive—sugary drinks are the leading contributor of increased caloric intake among children. Current consumption trends have been documented as a leading cause in childhood obesity and preventable chronic diseases. By taxing these harmful products it is anticipated there would be a reduction in product consumption, similar to what has been achieved through the implementation of increased taxes on tobacco. The proposed sugar-sweetened beverage tax would generate an estimated $1.7 billion a year that would be directed exclusively to combat childhood obesity by providing financial resources to local schools and community-based programs to promote physical education, nutrition and wellness programs.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Making a Scene

As it celebrates its 30th year, Santa Cruz County’s Open Studios is one of the most successful in the country—and a make-or-break event for many local artists


A Ritual & Initiation

The Pope has come and gone, but his loving presence ignited new hope and goodness in many. While he was in NYC, China’s ruler arrived in Washington D.C. East (China) and West (Rome), meeting in the middle, under Libra, balancing sign of Right Relations. The Pope arrived at Fall Equinox. Things initiated at Fall Equinox are birthed at Winter Solstice. The Pope’s presence was a ritual, an initiation rite—like the Dalai Lama’s visits—offering prayers, teachings and blessings. Rituals anchor God’s plan into the world, initiating us to new realities, new rules. The Pope’s presence brings forth the Soul of the United States, its light piercing the veils of materialism. The Pope’s visit changed things. New questions arise, new reasons for living. A new wave of emerging life fills the air. Like a cocoon shifting, wings becoming visible. The winds are different now. Calling us to higher vision, moral values, virtues that reaffirm and offer hope for humanity. A changing of the guard has occurred. Appropriately, this is the week of the Jewish Festival of Sukkoth (’til Oct. 4), when we build temporary homes (little huts in nature), entering into a harvest of prayer and thanksgiving, understanding our fragile and impermanent existences. We are summoned to reflect upon our lives, our humanity, our nature, our spirit and each other. Offering gratitude, becoming a magnet for others. We observe. We see the needs. We love more.


The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program


Film, Times & Events: Week of October 2

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Extra Pop

Assembly’s pop-up space goes into regular rotation, Cabrillo wine dinner, and a visit to Mozaic


What’s your biggest pet peeve?

When people say they’re “going down” somewhere, and they’re actually traveling north. Julia Ragen, Santa Cruz, Psychologist


Downhill Cellars

An easy-drinking Chardonnay from Downhill Cellars


If whales have a message for humans, what might it be?

“Do not come in the water and join us.” Howard Hall, Santa Cruz, Retired