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Alejo Speaks out about Childhood Obesity

Assemblymember Luis Alejo introduced a bill that would require child caretakers to be versed in nutrition.

A new bill proposed by Assemblymember Luis Alejo, whose 30th District includes Watsonville, would require childcare providers to take an hour course in early childhood nutrition.

AB 290, the bill is called, will be heard sometime after March 11 in a California State Assembly policy committee meeting.

“With nearly 25 percent of preschool-aged children overweight or obese, thousands of California’s youngest residents face a lifetime of health challenges,” Alejo said. “California's licensing laws should prioritize nutrition training for child care providers as a reasonable and necessary means of supporting good nutrition habits. This bill will require licensed childcare providers to learn about the importance of healthy meals and snacks, cost-effective strategies, and age-appropriate meal patterns and serving sizes.”

In 2004, Santa Cruz County was in the top 10 for childhood obesity incidence in the whole state of California, according to California Convergence.

"California Food Policy Advocates is excited to continue working with Assemblymember Alejo on the important issues of early childhood obesity and nutrition,” said Elyse Homel Vitale of California Food Policy Advocates, sponsors of the bill. “We know through research that early childhood is when taste preferences and eating habits are formed. Through increased nutrition education for early childhood educators, AB 290 supports opportunities for providers to serve healthy foods at a lower cost."

Do you think this bill is smart? What other ways can we decrease childhood obesity? Tell us in the comments!

Jacob Bourne (Editor) February 13, 2013 at 07:07 PM
I think parents definitely have to be educated on nutrition, too. But why let the other caretakers off the hook? Shouldn't they be in the know too?
Hawkins February 13, 2013 at 07:30 PM
I don't think it's a bad idea but parents are ultimately responsible. Laws like this redirect from the real problem. Take fluoridation for example, I read during that fight that families couldn't afford toothbrushes & toothpaste. Yet there are plenty of ice cream trucks selling loads of Flamin' Hot Cheetos. I know I pick them up off my lawn every day.
Mike McDonald February 13, 2013 at 07:35 PM
David, don't worry about it. This artical is just a fluff bit copy and pasted from a Brown Beret Bunch press release email that was making the rounds last week.
Mike McDonald February 13, 2013 at 07:39 PM
Joe, this whole article is just ment to burry another story about the good assemblyman that is getting flack from readers. It seems he's wanting to give money to a bunch of his friends who want to run the non-Latinos out of the state. So they have provided a feel good story to make him look good. Makes you wonder who's side the Patch is on, no?
randy February 13, 2013 at 10:28 PM
@Mike.. well just watch and see how many anti Alejo posts get pulled. This happened a couple weeks ago with article by Jacob (I believe he was the reporter)
Eve Pearlman February 13, 2013 at 10:38 PM
Hi Randy (and Watsonville commenters): Patch's terms of service are here: http://watsonville.patch.com/terms ... and they're pretty detailed. But I think if you just keep in mind that if you treat people online as you would like to be treated off-line then you won't run into any trouble with comments being deleted and/or getting involved in nasty back and forth. Anyone with questions or complaints is welcome to reach out to me, eve@patch.com. ~Eve
Eve Pearlman February 13, 2013 at 10:44 PM
For those of you who are not in the mood to click through to Patch's Terms of Service, here are some of the basics of what is NOT allowed on Patch: Content that is defamatory, abusive, obscene, profane or offensive; is threatening, harassing or that promotes racism, bigotry, hatred or physical harm of any kind against any group or individual; promotes or encourages violence; is inaccurate, false or misleading in any way; Full terms here: http://watsonville.patch.com/terms Again, if you have questions or thoughts, please don't hesitate to pop me an email: eve@patch.com ~Eve
Marry Attel February 13, 2013 at 11:47 PM
I find it interesting that all types of infractions including the coarsest obcenties and down right hate speech are posted and never taken down but when you say something that is negative aginst the assemblyman it's pulled very quickly. I have noticed this seems to happen with Mr. Jacob Bourns articles most of the time. He seems to be very sensitive about the assemblyman and his followers.
Eve Pearlman February 14, 2013 at 12:00 AM
Hi Marry. I have been watching and I do not draw the same conclusion. Just scrolling up in this thread of half a dozen comments, in fact, I notice several negative comments about Alejo. Someone called his ideas "hairbrained" another commenter made disparaging comments about his body. As I said above, if you keep in mind that you're talking to and about people and if you keep as a goal to treat other people as you would actually like to be treated I think we will all have a better time of it here on Patch and elsewhere. ~Eve
David H. Perez February 14, 2013 at 12:10 AM
@Eve Pearlman - Hi Eve. I have not made any statements about Mr. Alejo that I would not gladly and enthusiastically say to his face. In fact, my personal statements to him would be even more enthusiastic since he could not censor or delete them. I really have to agree with Mary Attel though that the Patch seems to tolerate much of the hate speech from Latinos directed toward non-Latinos; yet those of us who stand our ground for true equality for EVERYBODY in Watsonville get censored; or anybody who makes a statement against Mr. Alejo gets squashed. Maybe only a coincidence, but this seems to happen a lot on Mr. Bourne's watch. BTW Eve - my shoulder is getting better and I'll try to get around to calling you this week.
David H. Perez February 14, 2013 at 12:16 AM
@Jacob Bourne - I think your argument is reasonable that caretakers should be educated about nutrition too. But like most things, I think it needs to start in the home. As I have preached a million times before, the most important job in the world (parenting) requires the fewest qualifications, and that is unfortunate. If Alejo has the irresistable urge to spend taxpayer money, maybe it should go toward educating parents, many of whom are the problem in the first place, before they even leave the maternity ward.
Eve Pearlman February 14, 2013 at 12:20 AM
Hi @David. I'm glad your shoulder is healing -- good to hear. I have been watching the comments and I do not agree with your conclusions. I am curious about your thoughts --- and other people's thoughts as well -- about this particular piece of legislation. Is there a downside to teaching early childhood educators about nutrition? Yes, I agree, it wouldn't help all children, but perhaps it might help some. Or many. ~Eve
David H. Perez February 14, 2013 at 12:29 AM
Eve, I understand your point here (and OK, I agree that the person's remark about Alejo's BMI was a cheap shot), but the difference is that Alejo is a politician. If you are in politics, you have the power to arbitrarily make decisions that can impact many people's lives for better or for worse and for many years to come. That makes you subject to verbal attacks and criticism. In my opinion and the opinion of many others in Watsonville, Mr. Alejo and his followers have all but destroyed this town. I invite you to come down here and spend some time, and we can show you numerous cases in point. As far as Mr. Alejo, I'm sure he understands that in politics, if you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen, so I don't think the Patch needs to protect him.
Mary Olivara February 14, 2013 at 12:42 AM
Eve, if you had some experience with the past postings on the Patch from the followers of the assemblyman you might have some understanding. Either you do no understand or you are just protecting this politician as mr. Borne has done in the past. It does seem very odd that the BBs can rant on with hate speech on these pages but when someone calls little Ceaser to task they are censored.
Eve Pearlman February 14, 2013 at 12:55 AM
@Mary O. I disagree with your conclusions about the nature of the comments on Patch. Calling someone "little Cesar," as you just did above, be they an elected official or not, is not the height of civility. I would urge you to engage in the issues. Also, if you can point me to a "rant with hate speech," as you mention in your comment, I would be happy to take a look. As I said above, if you keep in mind that you're talking to and about actual people and if you keep as a goal to treat other people as you would actually like to be treated I think we will all have a better time of it here on Patch and elsewhere. ~Eve
Carlos Veattea February 14, 2013 at 01:05 AM
Eve, look to any postings from the Brown Breets. There are hundreds of them over the last six months to a year. You should try to spend some time in the Ville.
Eve Pearlman February 14, 2013 at 01:08 AM
@Carlos, hi. That is not specific! But, seriously, if you see racist rants PLEASE let me know immediately. eve@patch.com.
randy February 14, 2013 at 01:10 AM
@ eve... My remark was that when you push something, you should be in the physical and/or mental frame as the item you are pushing. If you are overweight, how can you teach someone to lose weight or eat properly. This is MY opinion It is a known fact that many in Watsonville are tired of Mr. Alejo and his followers antics. For instance, the city council. It is a joke because it is controlled by a clique that is tied to Mr. Alejo. Last nights meeting was a great example. The councilmembers are to represent this district and the people in it. The people spoke but the council voted they way THEY as individuals decided. Mr. Alejo has done many things in this town that has not helped his like/dislike from the citizens. AND Mary did not call Mr. Alejo Little Caesar. I did. that is one of the kinder names he has been associated with by a lot of people. I will try my best to refrain from calling him anything but ALEJO or Mr. Alejo. As for helping children, there was the issue of fluoridation in Watsonville and the unincorporated area. Mr Alejo pushed this and then received funding for his campaign from a couple dental associations. Coincidence? Also like a poster said, can't afford fluoride toothpaste or tooth brushes but can afford "junk" food (not an exact quote} As Mr. Perez so eloquently stated, Mr. Alejo is a public figure. RANDY
Carlos Veattea February 14, 2013 at 01:12 AM
Go back and read the postings by the assemblyman group the Brown Berets. They tell white people to hurry up & die so that it will be a all 'brown town'. They want to expell whitses from the area to create a new Mexicano state in the Pajaro Valley. They use language and hate speech that I can not list here. They threaten people's lives and lively hoods right on these pages. The Patch does NOTHING. Say one slightly unkind thing about the assemblyman and it's censored. Is this the Americam way?
Robert Frost February 14, 2013 at 01:29 AM
The nazis censored the truth.
Eve Pearlman February 14, 2013 at 01:35 AM
@Randy, Hi. I disagree that you can't advocate for something -- in this case life-long healthy eating habits -- that you yourself don't have. An example from my line of work: many great editors are not great writers but they can guide writers to do great things. An example more closely related to this discussion: even though I do not have perfect exercise and eating habits, I work very hard to teach my children to treat their bodies well. In any case, I think your cause -- or any cause -- is far better served when you don't resort to name-calling. When you make thoughtful, fact-based, well-reasoned arguments. Re fluoridation, I am a bit confused by your argument. Fluoride reduces teeth decay and therefore decreases the need for intervention from dentists. Yes, Alejo is a public figure and so more can be said about him. But does doing so help your argument? ~Eve
randy February 14, 2013 at 03:04 AM
@Eve Re: Fluoridation. First of all, if you don't use proper dental hygiene like brushing your teeth, the fluoride in the water isn't going to help. AND there is many drawbacks regarding the fluoridation of EVERYONES water. Do you know that you are not supposed to mix formula with water containing fluoride... and also, if I don't want fluoride, do I have to accept it because a politician pushes it? This is MY opinion of course. Oh, just a thought also. IF the fluoridation issue that Alejo pushed would have passed, do you know that the people in the unincorporated area of Watsonville didn't have a vote but had to accept it? Also, bringing the issue up and then receiving funding (a lot) was just too much of a coincidence. The issue with Alejo and this bill is like a public official promoting not smoking and they are a smoker. This is strictly my opinion Randy
Sylvia Lazo February 14, 2013 at 03:57 AM
To require child care providers to take an hour course in nutrition without requiring at least as much from parents is self-defeating. Why? Child care providers will then (possibly) see to it that the children in their care have access to good (or better) nutrition, while the parents continue to feed their children the same things they always have, as well as hand over the dollars for the ice cream truck after school, and the Hot Cheetos or Doritos whenever the kids ask. We have watched this for years, (having lived and worked and volunteered here for years).
Eve Pearlman February 14, 2013 at 04:05 AM
@Sylvia ... I totally agree that parents and educators need to be educated about nutrition and diet. I guess the question in my mind is does it make sense not to make an effort to educate educators until such time as all parents are totally educated? My mom was fond of saying, "Perfect is the enemy of the good." Also, I find issues around making smart eating choices not to be particularly straight-forward. For example, I know I should not be eating the Thin Mints that the neighborhood Girl Scouts dropped off at my house, but I might just have a few later. ~Eve
Eve Pearlman February 14, 2013 at 04:15 AM
@Randy. I hear you -- you have concerns about fluoride in the water. I guess my understanding of the issue is informed by stories I've heard and read about what it was like for people and their teeth before water was routinely fluoridated. I suspect we can agree that reasonable people can disagree about this? ... I still do disagree with you that one must need to adopt the recommended behavior before being an advocate for it. Some of the most passionate advocates against smoking, for example, are those people who have started, are addicted and can't stop, but wish they could -- and their message carries, in my mind, great credibility. ~Eve
Eve Pearlman February 14, 2013 at 04:18 PM
Sylvia, you wrote: ""@Eve: "... the question in my mind is does it make sense not to make an effort to educate educators until such time as all parents are totally educated?..." I did not say anything about waiting until all parents are totally educated. What I said, as you can easily see by simply scrolling back, is "To require child care providers to take an hour course in nutrition without requiring at least as much from parents is self-defeating." Key words? "At least as much". Perfect is the enemy of good as pertains to learning to write one's name or learning to draw horses while in 1st grade. My mother also used that phrase, as she attempted to tell me not to be too hard on myself, rather to be happy with my progress as I did my very best. I don't see how that applies to requiring child care providers to take a course in nutrition but not requiring the same of parents. As for issues surrounding making smart eating choices....If you know you should not, but you 'just might later', IMO <--key words :), you simply lack will power, and/or failed to stick to a decision you 'sorta made'."
Eve Pearlman February 14, 2013 at 04:24 PM
@Sylvia I saw your comment go through, but it's not showing above. In any case, the state can legislate what early childhood educators learn b/c they are licensed. But parents are, of course, not. So my thinking is why not teach educators about nutrition because that will help some children. ~Eve
randy February 14, 2013 at 04:27 PM
Just a curious question? Who will foot the bill for the training? Does the child care centers have to pay? Another thing I wonder about is this. I remember several child care centers that are funded with government funds for low income have had to close because funding was not available. Who pays for the food at these places? I have a grand daughter going to a day care that her parents pay for. She takes a lunch every day. The lunch is not included in the fee. Just curious about this. I have 10 grands. When they come .. not all at the same time haha .. I always have fruit or a snack that isn't high in sugar. Several reasons, it is cheaper and healthier.. AND if I gave them sweets, they get hyper .. which is something that Mom and Dad frowns on. Eve.. have a good idea on GS cookies for you. Saves you grief haha. Pay for the cookies but designate them to be sent to our armed forces. Yes, girls scouts does this.
Cathy P. February 14, 2013 at 04:53 PM
Licensing fees for day care providers will be increased to pay for this.
Cathy P. February 14, 2013 at 05:07 PM
This is another attempt by Mr. Assemblyman to fleece California taxpayers! Legally licensed day care providers already have many, many hoops to jump through to get and stay licensed: pediatric CPR training, health & safety courses, sanitation training, etc., and the fees they pay for this priviledge are already outrageous. When considering a legally licensed day care provider, intelligent parents visit the facility and ask questions, including what type of food and snacks are provided. If you don't like the food options, don't put your child there. Legally licensed day care providers aren't the problem. It's the ones who set up shop without a license and provide educational programs that consist of cartoons on TV; recreational programs that consist of video games; and snacks that consist of Twinkies and soda pop. Unfortunately AB 290 will not address the issue of unlicensed facilities, only drive up costs for both legally licensed providers and parents who want the best for their children.

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