You know, a big part of me doesn’t even want to know what’s going to come out of the conference in D.C. today called “The Obesity Challenge: What the Next President Should Do.” Bill Richardson’s already given us a taste, and I don’t much care for it. (Not fatty enough.)
“The next president must commit to fighting America’s obesity problem and possess the experience to win the fight,” Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico says, taking credit for waging the fight back home. “In New Mexico, I got junk food out of our schools and put physical education back in.”
I did, however, enjoy Sandy Szwarc’s remarks on what else Bill Richardson has done to fight the scourge of fatness in New Mexico:
According to the New Mexico State Center for Health Statistics, Bureau of Vital Records, it ranks 47th in the nation in per capita income and 25.9% of children live at or below the poverty level. But it leads the nation in food insecurity and hunger. One in six New Mexicans — 16.8% — suffer low or very low food security (the government’s new term for hunger). And the problem is growing.
The most recent Faces of Hunger in New Mexico report, released last year, said that since 2001, there’s been a 38% increase in residents seeking emergency food assistance — more than 238,000 a year, including 81,000 children and 21,000 seniors. The total population of this state is under 2 million. The numbers of seniors seeking emergency food aid has nearly doubled. Forty-one percent of those served by New Mexico’s food banks said they had to choose between paying for food or paying for utilities or heating fuel. And for 28%, it was a choice between food and medicine or medical care. “Over one-half of the increase we see are the most vulnerable of our community – children and seniors” said Melody Wattenbarger, Executive Director of Roadrunner Food Bank.
Excellent work, Bill! Keep it up and your state will have NO FATTIES AT ALL!
Bet the other candidates can’t top that.