1 WHEREAS, The California State PTA supports improving the health and well-being of children and families by ensuring equitable access to the essentials of a healthy life such as healthy community and school environments; and
2 WHEREAS, California has unacceptably high rates of preventable childhood obesity, prediabetes, and asthma attacks, causing increased rates of illness and future risk for chronic disease among children and a financial burden for families, schools and the State; and
3 WHEREAS, Illness and injury disproportionately impact underserved communities. Race, income, historical injustices, and community conditions—including limited access to healthy food, physical activity, safe neighborhoods, and clean water— can determine the quality and length of one’s life; and
4 WHEREAS, California public health programs that address chronic disease and injury prevention have insufficient and unstable state and federal fundings; and
5 WHEREAS, Oklahoma, Minnesota and Massachusetts have created statewide mechanisms to provide dedicated funding for the prevention of chronic disease, and have seen significant results in reducing chronic disease and key risk factors from their investments; now therefore be it
1 RESOLVED, The California State PTA recognizes that high rates of preventable childhood illnesses and health inequities are harming California children and families and will work to educate school districts, parents, and residents of the State about the importance of sustained funding for chronic disease and injury prevention; and be it further
2 RESOLVED, That the California State PTA and its units, councils and districts support legislation to provide a source of sustained, dedicated funding for chronic disease and injury prevention inspired by the state wellness trusts and funds in Oklahoma, Minnesota and Massachusetts; and be it further
3 RESOLVED, That the California State PTA, and its units, councils and districts, partner with public health agencies, nonprofits and community organizations to advocate for creating a sustained source of chronic disease and injury prevention funding in the State of California.
While good quality health care is essential for all Californians, investing in building healthier communities can prevent illness and injury, and provide more equitable health access. Preventable diseases such as obesity, pre-diabetes and asthma are at epidemic levels with an estimated 39% of Californians suffering from at least one chronic condition, yet investment in prevention is inadequate.
As health care spending continues to increase in California, funding for chronic disease and injury prevention continues to be inadequate. Just 2% of the 2019-2020 California State Budget is allocated for public health. That compares to a national figure of 2.5% in 2017. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) ranked California 43rd in total federal funding per capita in 2018.
Furthermore, the federal Prevention and Public Health Fund, created by the Affordable Care Act in 2010 with an intention to provide communities across the nation funding to combat chronic disease, has suffered from significant reductions, with California losing $146 million between 2010 and 2016. As a result, many public health programs are supported by one-time grants, resulting in stop and go funding that leaves public health departments, nonprofits and community partners in the lurch after launching projects that have demonstrated success in battling risk factors for chronic disease.
Furthermore, the ability to live a healthy life is not fairly distributed. California African American, Latino and Native American children, and all children who grow up in poverty, are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases and to have increased risk for chronic diseases into adulthood. Research as early as 2001 shows the increased risk for coronary events (heart attack and death from cardiovascular disease) for those living in disadvantaged neighborhoods. These disparities continue today.
Communities across the state are mobilizing, building assets and developing leadership to change these unjust outcomes. Increased funding for chronic disease and injury prevention can help nurture that capacity and provide opportunity for a healthier future for children.
The California State PTA has long advocated for the health and well-being of California’s children and has adopted many positions and resolutions stating their belief in “the importance of preventing and eliminating factors that may be detrimental to the health, safety and well-being of all children, families and youth”. However, the very programs that promote children’s health have grossly inadequate funding to meet the need. A source of sustained, dedicated funding for chronic disease and injury prevention can improve the health and well-being of all children in California.
Originating body was Bancroft PTA (San Leandro, CA)