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Health First Wisconsin Statement on Joint Finance Committee Action to Take Away Local Power to Combat Childhood Obesity

May 10, 2013

Media Statement, Health First Wisconsin

Madison, Wis.– Health First Wisconsin today responded to the Joint Finance Committee’s adoption of a motion that would eliminate the power of local governments to limit or restrict portion sizes for food or beverages based on their size, calorie count, or nutritional content.

Maureen Busalacchi, executive director of Health First Wisconsin said:

“Childhood obesity is a very serious epidemic in Wisconsin that threatens to make this generation of kids the first that doesn’t live as long as their parents. Our communities need additional tools to solve the problem of childhood obesity – not fewer tools. This ban takes options off the table before our communities even have a chance to decide what kind of strategies they want to pursue to reduce childhood obesity and reign in rising health care costs.

“The state should be setting high standards for good health policy instead of eliminating the power of local governments to find creative solutions to encourage healthier choices in their communities.

This is a classic example of preemption that takes away the power of communities to make choices about pursuing health policies that make sense for them. This ban mimics the tactics that tobacco companies used to fight the life-saving smoke-free movement.”

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Health First Wisconsin is a nonprofit organization that advances policy solutions to make our state a healthier place.

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