Governor’s Comments Might Affect Efforts To Enact Legislation on Healthy Snacks in Schools
The Riverside Press-Enterprise on Tuesday examined reaction to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) announcement that he supports legislation that would curb junk food sales in schools (Weaver et. al, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/7).
Schwarzenegger on Sunday said that he supports a bill (SB 965) by Sen. Martha Escutia (D-Whittier) that would ban soft drinks in high schools beginning in 2009. He also supports a bill (SB 281) by Sen. Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria) that would create a two-year test program to distribute fruits and vegetables to students at as many as 25 schools at no cost.
In addition, Schwarzenegger is working with food manufacturers and school officials to develop legislation to make nutritious snacks more widely available in schools (California Healthline, 3/7).
Schwarzenegger "could find a hard sell" in the Legislature, where most Republicans have opposed similar bills, the Press-Enterprise reports.
Assembly member Bonnie Garcia (R-Cathedral City) said, "As much as we would like, I don't think government should be making lifestyle decisions for families." She said school boards should enact such rules for their own districts.
School groups that opposed earlier efforts to make food in schools healthier have decided to support the new legislation.
Harold Goldstein, executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, said, "We think more organizations have come to see the extent of the childhood obesity epidemic."
But school groups are still concerned over the loss of revenue that could result from restricting soft drink and candy sales in vending machines. Some of California's largest schools earn between $15,000 and $25,000 annually from vending machine sales, the Press-Enterprise reports.
Brian Parliman, a child nutrition supervisor for Corona-Norco Unified School District, said, "Any time you change what you sell, you risk losing money." He added, "Initially, we'd lose some money, and we'd hope that the kids would eventually get used to the healthier alternatives. But that's an unknown" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/7).
ABCNews' "World News Tonight" on Tuesday reported on Schwarzenegger's comments. The segment includes comments from Schwarzenegger; Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R); Lisa Jones, community outreach coordinator at James Monroe High School in Los Angeles; and Margo Wootan, nutritional policy director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest (McKenzie, "World News Tonight," ABCNews, 3/8). A video excerpt of the segment is available online in RealPlayer.
In addition, KPCC's "AirTalk" on Tuesday included a discussion of Schwarzenegger's comments. Guests on the program included Goldstein and Lisa Katic, registered dietician and nutrition adviser for the Snack Food Association (Mantle, "AirTalk," KPCC, 3/8). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.