As federal legislators and President Obama meet at today's national healthcare summit, one thing is clear: there is common ground--prevention. Politicians from across the political spectrum, from Nancy Pelosi to Tom Coburn, have come together to emphasize the importance of prevention in wellness.
The February 24th bipartisan summit in California, led by Governor Schwarzenegger and Bill Clinton (and joined by our own Larry Cohen, see photo), showed what can happen when politicians cross the aisle and build quality prevention into policy. The Governor's groundbreaking recommendations will improve the health of all Californians, and create momentum that hold the potential to shift national policies in the years to come.
The Governor's proposals, which reflect many recent recommendations of the Strategic Alliance, include:
- Promote the Consumption of Healthy Beverages in Schools, including increased access to free drinking water during school meals and the elimination of electrolyte beverages from California's public schools;
- Increase Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity in Educational Programs, including requiring that students spend at least 50 percent of PE class time in physical activity;
- Incorporate Healthy Living Options through "Health in All Policies", including increasing flexibility to develop joint use facilities (such as efforts by our jointuse.org) and simplifying Safe Routes to Schools; and
- Strategic Growth Council Executive Order , which will establish a Health in All Policies Task Force to identify priority programs, policies and strategies which improve the health of Californians.
As politicians negotiate what real health looks like for our country, we hope they follow the example that California set by implementing quality prevention in health reform now.