Survey finds poor diet, lack of exercise are greatest health risks to California children
The Sacramento Bee

Unhealthy eating habits and a lack of physical activity are the biggest health risks facing children today, according to a new survey of California voters.

Nearly half of voters responding to a Field Poll, 48 percent, said bad eating habits and the lack of exercise are the biggest threats to children’s health and a large majority, 73 percent, believe it is the community’s responsibility to do something about it.

“What’s surprising is the breadth of support that these (issues) are the most important to children’s health and the consensus that it’s up to the community – not just the parents – to be involved,” said Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo. He attributed the increase to the growth of awareness of childhood obesity and its related health risks. In a 2003 Field Poll, 35 percent of voters said eating habits and exercise were the top threats to children’s health.

In the new survey, voters from all political parties, demographics and regions agreed that a poor diet and exercise are the biggest health risks facing California’s children.

Illegal drug use, at 22 percent, is the next most frequently mentioned health risk, according to the survey. The findings are from the yearly Field-TCE Childhood Obesity Prevention Survey conducted on behalf of the California Endowment.