into our communities. Restaurants are offering healthier menus. Mayors
throughout the country are refurbishing parks and playgrounds. And we are
bringing healthier breakfasts, lunches and vending machines into our school
We are finally starting to see some results, as childhood obesity rates are beginning to drop in cities and states all across this country. (APPLAUSE)
We're making progress, thanks to all of you.
And while we still have a long way to go, the good news is that right now, we have everything we need to reclaim our children's health -- that is, if we're willing to step up and continue to do our part in our own families and communities. And that starts by using our power as consumers to hold companies responsible for the food they make and how they market it to our kids.
In 2008 alone, companies spent well over half a billion dollars on food, beverage and restaurant ads in Latino media markets -- many of them for unhealthy products. And those of us with kids who have seen our kids begging and pleading for something they saw on TV, we know just how persuasive these ads can be. So we all know that the food industry has some serious work to do when it comes to how they market food to our kids. But here's the thing -- ultimately, we all have the power to decide whether or not to actually buy those foods. And today, the Latino community's buying power is more than one trillion dollars -- you hear me? Trillion with a "t"...
... and it's expected to increase to $1.5 trillion by 2015.
So make no mistake about it, with the choices that you make, you all could completely transform the marketplace. You all have the power right now, today. So when companies step up and provide healthy choices, we all need to step up and actually take advantage of those choices. Because let me tell you something, Goya can produce low- sodium products, but if we don't buy them, they will stop selling them. Restaurants can offer healthy meals, but if we don't order them, trust me, they will take that stuff off the menu, go back to the way it was.
In the end, we create the demand for these products and it's up to us to demand quality, affordable food that is good for our kids. But it's on us.
But while making the right choices in the store and off the menu is critical, it's not enough. Because we all know that if we truly want to raise healthy children, we need access to quality, affordable health care -- including the regular checkups and screenings our kids need to stay healthy.
And again, that was true in my own family, raising my girls. When my girls were little, I was diligent about taking them to every single one of their well-child visits right on time, where their growth was tracked on a regular basis. And it was during one of these visits when our pediatrician pulled me aside and told me that I better make some changes if I wanted my daughters to grow up healthy. And let me tell you, that was a real wakeup call for us, because, as a family, when we looked at ourselves, we weren't eating as well as we should have. And let me tell you, we listened to our pediatrician and we made those changes.
And I share this story because I think it helps to illustrate the importance of health reform, which will ensure that people have access to the preventative
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