Schwarzenegger Supports Legislation To Establish Nutrition Standards for Schools
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Monday voiced support for legislation pending in the Assembly that would ban soda and junk food in schools throughout the state, saying that state residents need to be more vigilant in addressing obesity, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The two bills, sponsored by Sen. Martha Escutia (D-Norwalk), have passed the Senate and are waiting to be considered by the Assembly when it returns from recess (Sheppard, Los Angeles Daily News, 7/26).
One bill (SB 965) would require at least half of drinks sold in high schools to be either water, milk, or fruit- or vegetable-based without additional sweeteners.
The other bill (SB 12) would require all food sold in elementary schools to meet fat and sugar content standards (California Healthline, 6/6).
"This legislation will improve school nutrition by removing junk food and sodas from our public schools," Schwarzenegger said at a press conference (Los Angeles Daily News, 7/26). He added, "This legislation is absolutely critical, not only for bringing more healthy food into our schools but also because California is facing an obesity epidemic" (Hennessey, AP/Las Vegas Sun, 7/26).
Schwarzenegger noted that obesity-related problems cost California $28 billion annually.
Senators who oppose the legislation, such as Sen. George Runner (R-Lancaster), say the state should not be given the authority to dictate food policy to local school districts.
However, Escutia said several school districts had requested that the state establish uniform standards (Los Angeles Daily News, 7/26).