While there are many amazing opportunities wrapped up in becoming a titleholder within the Miss America Organization, I think the greatest part is the ability to promote a personal platform. Having a title allows young women, like myself, to act as public figures pushing for change. What could be more amazing then that?!
My platform, Happy = Healthy, focuses on decreasing childhood obesity rates through amplifying education on proper nutrition and by inspiring young people to get out and be active! With approximately 12.7 million children in our nation suffering from childhood obesity, it is extremely important to address the prevalence of this statistic and work towards reducing it.
Childhood obesity not only has detrimental effects on a child’s well-being, but can lead to severe health issues later on in life; hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease, just a few to name. With heart disease being the number one killer of our current population, it’s vital to acknowledge and educate our populace about the devastating effects of childhood obesity. By investing in our children’s health now, we are investing in the future health of our nation.
In Jefferson County alone, there has been a three percent increase in childhood obesity rates in the past three years. This is unacceptable. With all the push from national campaigns to create a healthier nation, it is alarming to see our rates increasing. Armed with this information due to my studies, I decided it was time to meet with local officials and ask them their thoughts and what their ideas were to effect change.
I was honored to meet recently with Assemblywoman Addie Russell, who represents the 116th Assembly District. I told her about my platform and the need for change, not only in our community, but in our state. Ms. Russell offered wonderful insights and informed me about a very unique bill that she is trying to get passed: the Farm-to-School Bill will allocate funds to schools in order to buy fresh foods from local farms and producers. For example, most fruits served in schools currently come from out-of-state, but with the passing of this bill, fruits and vegetables will come from our local farms! On top of offering more fresh and nutritional options for kids, this bill could offer a boost for the local economy.
Our meeting was extremely insightful and reassured me that our local officials are, indeed, striving to make our communities healthier. I look forward to my next meeting with Ms. Russell, and other local officials, as well as helping out however I can to achieve passage of the Farm-to-School Bill.
During our lives, many find a cause or hobby about which they are passionate; it helps to add meaning and fun to our lives. For me, my passion is health. I am excited to take childhood obesity head on with my platform and continue to push for change as I Segway from pageantry into a fulfilling career in nursing.