LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Obesity, tobacco should be high on the list of priorities

There will be a lot said over the next couple weeks about what the Delaware legislature did or didn’t do this year in Dover.

Despite all their meaningful work, our legislature did nothing to address the top two leading causes of preventable death: obesity and tobacco use.

Our legislators’ attention was certainly turned towards serious and prominent issues, no doubt about that, but to leave the two largest causes of preventable death unattended to is, in my humble opinion, an obvious and troubling oversight.

While legislators campaign this summer and fall I sincerely hope they ponder these two public health issues and propose some worthwhile ideas come January.

Raising the minimum purchase age for tobacco products from 18 to 21 makes a great deal of sense. The Delaware General Assembly should also contemplate the impact of sugar on the obesity epidemic and look at ideas related to healthier kids’ meals, school marketing of unhealthy products, even sugary drink taxes as meaningful ways of intervening in this true public health crisis of our generation.

Louisa Phillips, MSN, MS, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE
American Heart Association, Delaware Policy Committee

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