Legislation to Curb Childhood Obesity Passes in Assembly
June 1, 2004
Today the New York State Assembly voted 139-5 in favor of a bill to replace junk food and soda with healthy options in public schools. By restricting foods with a minimal nutritional value, schools would be encouraged to offer nutritional foods to students looking for snacks during the school day. The bill's sponsor Assemblywoman Sandy Galef (90th A.D.-Ossining) introduced this legislation (A.6563b), citing the rapidly escalating obesity rate and its effect on the population of our state. "With links to Type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and cancer, New York is once again showing the nation that we lead the way on children's health issues. We will not sit back and do nothing about the obesity epidemic affecting our state's children." The American Cancer Society applauds this legislation stating, "This is a very significant step forward in reducing the obesity rate among children. This proves that schools can keep children out of harm's way." Several school districts around the country have attempted to regulate the types of foods available in vending machines. They have been successful, but if this bill becomes law, New York would be the first to make a statewide move to curb childhood obesity. Senator Mary Lou Rath (61st S.D.-Williamsville) has the companion bill (S.4556a) in the New York State Senate.