SACRAMENTO, Calif., June 19, 2020 – During California State PTA’s Statewide Association Meeting from June 9-11, delegates from across the state voted to adopt a timely resolution making a commitment to advocate for increased funding for and education about chronic disease and injury prevention.
While high-quality healthcare is essential for all Californians, COVID-19 has revealed the consequences of not investing in early prevention, especially in communities of color. The pandemic has shown that those with underlying health conditions such as asthma, diabetes and cardiovascular disease have a higher risk of complications from COVID-19. Furthermore, communities of color not only have a higher prevalence of chronic disease, but are more likely to be employed as essential workers and live in crowded housing, which puts them at higher risk of exposure to and death from COVID-19.
“California children who grow up in poverty, especially disproportionately impacted children of color, are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases and to have increased risk for chronic health conditions into adulthood,” said Celia Jaffe, President of California State PTA. “Preventable childhood obesity, pre-diabetes and asthma attacks are at epidemic levels, with an estimated 39% of Californians suffering from at least one chronic condition, yet investment in prevention is woefully inadequate.”
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” said Shauna Olsen of Bancroft Middle School PTA, the PTA that submitted the resolution. “We must invest in proven public health practices such as increasing access to healthy foods and physical activity, creating safer communities, providing opportunities for youth development, and other strategies. With sustained funding we can reduce health inequities, prevent disease and improve the lives of children and families. “
Olsen works at the California Alliance for Prevention Funding, which conducted some of the research that supports the resolution. She spoke at the Statewide Association Meeting in favor of the resolution, which calls on PTA groups across the state to:
- Educate school districts, parents and residents of the state about the harm preventable childhood illnesses and health inequities are causing California children.
- Advocate for legislation that provides sustained funding for chronic disease and injury prevention.
- Promote partnering with public health agencies, nonprofit and community organizations to advocate for prevention funding.
California State PTA has long supported the right of every child to have access to the tools and services they need to live a healthy life. At its virtual Statewide Association Meeting last week members from across the state voted to adopt important changes to the association’s legislative platform, welcomed new units, heard speeches from special guests, and voted on resolutions. Resolutions are proposed by individual units, councils or districts, and those that were adopted at the meeting will serve as the basis for action for all California State PTA members for the coming years.