Are SLO County youth overwhelmed with unhealthy choices?

March 9, 2017

San Luis Obispo County health officials are citing a statewide survey on marketing and the availability of tobacco, alcohol, condoms and certain foods as evidence county residents, and particularly youth, are overwhelmed with unhealthy choices at local stores they visit.

The survey was conducted in the summer of 2016 as part of a statewide campaign promoting reduced availability of tobacco products, increased availability of fresh fruits and vegetables and increased availability of condoms on unlocked shelves. The “Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community” survey contains information collected from more than 7,100 stores statewide, including pharmacies, supermarkets, delis and convenience and liquor stores, as well as tobacco-only stores.

Data gatherers found the availability of e-cigarettes in San Luis Obispo County stores increased by 29 percent between 2013 and 2016. County health officials say there has been a subsequent spike in e-cigarette use by teens and young adults.

Cigarette smoking in SLO County is slightly below the state average. In SLO County, 12.5 percent of adults smoke cigarettes, compared to 12.7 percent statewide.

In addition to selling traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes, 92 percent of SLO County stores sell “little cigars” or cigarillos. Furthermore, 64 percent of stores sell a popular brand of little cigars in individual packs for less than a dollar.

Youth drinking appears to be more prevalent in SLO County than statewide.

A survey of local 11th graders found 38 percent of participants used alcohol before the age of 15. Statewide, 29 percent of 11th graders used alcohol before the age of 15.

In SLO County, 28 percent of 11th graders binge drink, whereas 18 percent do statewide.

The sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea is less of a problem in SLO County than across California. In SLO County, there are 61.2 cases of gonorrhea per 100,000 people. Statewide, there are 138.9 cases of gonorrhea per 100,000 people.

In SLO County, 80.6 percent of stores surveyed sell condoms, and 61.1 percent of stores place condoms on unlocked shelves.

Only 60 percent of SLO County stores sell fresh fruits and vegetables, according to the survey.

As for marketing, only 14 percent of stores advertised healthy products on their storefronts. But, 67 percent of storefronts advertised unhealthy products, according to the survey.

“This survey found that our community’s youth are inundated with unhealthy messages and choices,” County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said. “We need to change what information and options our kids are exposed to and work to surround them with healthy choices and messaging instead.”

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I don’t think any more than a large metro area.

You also can’t dispute that kids are literally surrounded by access to nature and natural beauty in Slo county.

But yes, there is too much fiddling about with screens, as demonstrated by the adults.

Lets not remove all of the joy out of life….Okay Doc?

The government at it’s money wasting best!

How about parenting? Seems to just be the trend in society. Kids, and everyone else, eat fast food because it’s easy. Kids sit on the couch and play computer games, it’s easy. You don’t see kids in neighborhoods playing ball in the fields or yards.

Plain and simple society has just got lazy and looks out for the easy way to get anything done. That may be why it appears from this report that the majority is just sitting around smoking, drinking, eating junk food and maybe might even have more sex since the condoms are not locked up.

Social pressures make parenting harder than it used to be. Too many families have to have both parents working to make ends meet. The constant push of advertising combined with overuse of media results in people growing up unable to thoughtfully distinguish between needs and wants. This adds to financial pressures.

Many people want their kids to have as good a life as they can give them but overvalue the latest gimmicks and even “activities” which require substantial investments. They undervalue quality time with the kids and helping them deal with the challenges they face.

Finally, it is not just laziness or even addiction to electronics that keep kids from being physically active. There is also an overblown fear of danger in public places which has resulted in over-protective parenting. The constant bombardment of stories about horrifying situations may do wonders for bringing attention to media but it leaves a distorted impression of what the odds are of such things happening to any given individual. Add to this a tendency in some places to blame parents who allow their kids to do somewhat risky things outside a formal, controlled setting and you get kids who are either limited to learning life lessons to what is given to them as instruction or kids who do not even get exposed to physical challenges which leaves them ignorant as to how to face such challenges later on.

Say Dr. Borenstein … Hows about you, Jeff Hamm and Ian Parkinson tackle one problem at a time. The med and mental health workers are understaffed at the jail thus people are dying needlessly which will result in costly law suits.

If this article an effort to keep the publics eye off the ball it probably won’t work?

You would think that money could have been better spent elsewhere; we don’t need studies to tell us the obvious things.

The most formable challenge we face in stores is what’s placed at the register area, in the c-store world that area is coveted by every manufacturer and distributer. It is known as the “impulse buy” area and it is usually stocked with crap you don’t need.

Personal choices in food has very little to do with the location it is placed in stores; if I want a candy bar I’ll go look for it, if I want a piece of fruit I’ll go find it and if I want a sandwich I’ll pick the one I enjoy the most. What I think is the real challenge is reeducating ourselves on how we eat and in what quantities.

In our fast paced world we all have the tendency to gulp our food down and with the portions that are served we all to often eat well beyond what we need (I’ll be the first to admit I’ll eat something served to me rather than leaving it on the table). I’m better at this at home but I still find myself gulping my food down when rushed.

Tobacco products of any kind should be locked away and out of sight and only sold to those who are of age to buy them. Condoms should be readily available to buy without the added embarrassment that some will find in asking for them, and that means to any one of any age.

It appears the state survey promotes the unfettered access to condoms AS a healthy choice, which it is and Dr. Borenstein is indicating that condoms, alcohol and tobacco are creating unhealthy choices. One can just hear Dr. Borenstein lecturing local youth, “Remember boys, flies cause disease; so keep yours zipped up..”

The idea that fascism in San Luis Obispo ( racial cleansing ) is a good and positive energy, is quickly dying off with the baby boomer generation. The ideas that these fake intellectuals bring ( like banning smoking and banning drive throughs ) are going to be eradicated with the change of power from one generation to the next. We are all so tired of fascism. Thank GOD that the mellinials don’t fall for this fake form of liberalism either. Communism will be one of those passing phases for SLO, just as will be the corruption after we can investigate when we gain power. This is a country wide epidemic. There has to be a progressive change back to the old ways of accountability and social responsibility inside of this nation.

How is having condoms available sending an “unhealthy” message?? This is ridiculous backwards thinking. Seeing a condom is not going to cause anyone to run out and start having any more sex than they would have anyway.

They somehow think putting condoms under lock and key and forcing people who want to practice safe sex to have to go through extra steps to get them is somehow going to reduce the amount of sexually transmitted diseases being spread?? People aren’t going to stop having sex because it is harder to get condoms – they are just not going to use condoms. This will cause an even greater spread of STDs and unwanted pregnancies. Ignorant thinking! Bad!

“The survey was conducted in the summer of 2016 as part of a statewide campaign PROMOTING (emphasis added) reduced availability of tobacco products, increased availability of fresh fruits and vegetables and INCREASED (emphasis added) availability of condoms on unlocked shelves.”

Sounds to me they were encouraging the availability of condoms on “unlocked shelves” which would make them more likely to be bought. Not the other way around…