Miamidade County Team Seeks Massmarketing Drive For Healthy Eating
By Ashley Hopkins
With the budget set and the fiscal year at its onset, the county’s Health, Public Safety & Intergovernmental Committee is on a mission to pass legislation combating obesity.
A resolution sponsored by Commissioner Rebeca Sosa would direct Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez to develop a mass media, social-marketing campaign to promote healthy food and drink choices and increased physical activity among county residents and visitors. This motion was set to be heard Tuesday but the commission adjourned before discussing it.
Jose "Pepe" Diaz said he is co-sponsoring the resolution, because he has experienced the issues that come with living an unhealthy lifestyle first hand.
"I’ve suffered from obesity myself," he said. "I’m a gastric-bypass patient."
The commissioner said that while he knows what it is like to feel as though you cannot experience life to the fullest, he thinks the feeling is worse for children. Not wanting to see the county’s youth work themselves into a disabled state, Mr. Diaz is urging the mayor, and the commission, to support the program.
The project would be funded by the Communities Putting Prevention to Work Project, created as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to manage the prevalence of obesity among underserved and underinsured populations.
While the campaign would disseminate information about living a healthier lifestyle to residents, Ms. Sosa’s resolution also directs the Miami-Dade Parks and Recreation Department to require that all food and drink sold follow healthy vending machines guidelines. The resolution calls for establishment of service standards for recreational open spaces to encourage access to local parks and for improvements to bicycle facilities and signage to create safer, user-friendly routes.
In addition to the marketing campaign, the Health, Public Safety & Intergovernmental Committee brought a resolution to the commission Tuesday that would require the mayor to evaluate the feasibility of creating an educational program, complete with a series of lectures and seminars, focused on proper nutrition and preventive healthcare. The commission passed the resolution, sponsored by Javier Souto, requiring the mayor to provide a report of his findings to the commission.