Assemblyman Jim Tedisco (R,C-Schenectady, Saratoga) today proposed his Healthy Kids Act to help children develop healthy eating habits at school. As the number of overweight and obese children increases in the United States, Tedisco said it is time to take more serious action to prevent unhealthy eating habits among the nation’s youth.
"Children go to school and are presented with vending machines filled with candy and soda," said Tedisco. "What kind of example for healthy living are we sending children when unwholesome food is made readily accessible in an educational environment?"
Tedisco’s bill creates the Healthy Kids Pilot Program, in which selected schools would remove junk food from their vending machines and sell only healthful food. In a nation where 15 percent of children ages 9-15 are overweight, Tedisco’s proposal aims to stop a dangerous and deadly trend.
The pilot program would choose 10 school districts to receive grant money to offset the cost of selling only healthful food. "Some of my majority colleagues have put forth yet another unfunded mandate that would simply prohibit schools from retaining the much-needed revenue they garner from vending machines now," Tedisco said. "Unfortunately, their bills deal in no way with these lost revenues. As schools try to comply with more state mandates and raise academic standards, simply eliminating revenue sources is a bad idea. The Healthy Kids Pilot Program will keep schools from having to choose between needed funding and encouraging health-conscious dietary habits.
"My legislation will begin the process of regulating unwholesome foods in school vending machines with the intent of providing good snacks at no loss of revenue to school districts. We should be rewarding schools for their willingness to offer good-health food alternatives to students and not punishing them financially. The Healthy Kids program will provide for just that."