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February 14, 2011 at 4:02 PM

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Strokes growing more common in young and middle-aged Americans

Posted by Letters editor

Access to fresh food essential to a healthy lifestyle

Editor, The Times:

There is nothing shocking about the recent news that strokes are increasing among younger Americans [“The fat of the land,” Opinion, Feb. 11]. While Michelle Obama has raised the profile of the healthy-eating and active-living movement, these advocates have been sounding the alarm of poor diet for years.

The Times tells us that “we all have a role to play” in our health. While it’s true that some just can’t muster the willpower to say no to cupcakes and corn chips, it is also true that for many residents in low-income communities, the healthy choice is rarely the easy choice.

In 2008, over 50 percent of adults in King County were overweight. Many of our most vulnerable residents are immigrants living in neighborhoods with limited access to fresh, culturally appropriate food. Their challenges often include lack of transportation, too much fast food, or a complete absence of neighborhood groceries. It’s no wonder they shop at the local convenience store.

Are these folks “intentionally” angling for a stroke? Or are they making the rational choice to purchase what is most readily available?

Our region’s health-care bill will start to drop when our local leaders recognize that neighborhood planning must include access to fresh, healthful food.

— Tammy Morales, Seattle

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