Obesity Plagues Las Vegas Valley

LAS VEGAS -- Obesity is an epidemic that's plagued our nation for decades. The American Medical Association now labels obesity a disease. There are 78 million obese adults and 12 million obese children.

Elected officials are trying to combat the crisis. On Wednesday, the Las Vegas City Council passed a resolution that increases access to healthy food options in under served areas.

For the people who live near Decatur Boulevard and Smoke Ranch Road, there are few healthy food options. That area of the community is called a "food desert," meaning the nearest fresh food market is more than a quarter-mile away. A person must travel more than a mile to find a Food for Less and a Walmart.

Las Vegas city council members have adopted a food access policy. It zeros in on dozens of so-called "food deserts" in Las Vegas, communities starved for fresh food markets.

"It would be nice to have a grocery store a couple of blocks away," Jeff Walker said.

He is a father who lives in an under served community. He says a lack of healthy foods hurt children the most.

"This is the younger generation we got to get to," he said. "The people my age, they already got diabetes and high blood pressure and heart disease."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reports 34 percent of Las Vegas children and an unbelievable 60 percent of adults are obese or overweight.

Ward 5 councilman Ricki Barlow says the resolution will increase healthy food access for all wards and decrease unhealthy retail options.

"We want to basically identify opportunities for developers to come in and look at markets where they can walk to those various markets or grocery stores," Barlow said.

Not everyone agrees with the resolution. Michael Turley calls himself a political watchdog who says this is about government control.

"It's about regulating every facet of your life," Turley said.

But Walker thinks many people are already controlled by their wants and not their needs.

"What are we allowing our kids to eat? Do we need the cookies and the chips and the sodas?"

Part of the resolution also includes partnering with farmers' markets to bring fresh produce into communities that need it most.

 


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