Sen. Torlakson To Introduce Three Bills To Encourage Healthy Habits in Schools
Sen. Tom Torlakson (D-Antioch) plans to introduce three bills to encourage healthier nutrition and exercise habits in schools, the Contra Costa Times reports. One bill would require that the purchase of soft drink vending machines undergo public comment at school board meetings. Another bill would funnel "millions of dollars" into after-school exercise programs, the Times reports. A third bill would increase nutritional options in state-owned vending machines. Torlakson called obesity "an epidemic that costs billions of dollars in health costs," according to the Times. However, Bob Achermann, executive director of the California Nevada Soft Drink Association, said attempts to ban soft drinks from schools "unfairly target the industry," adding, "Soft drinks in moderation are as healthy for you as anything." And the Times reports that with state budget cuts anticipated to affect schools, some could be forced to cut programs if they were to stop receiving the money that soda machines often bring (Krupnick, Contra Costa Times, 1/7). In the past legislative session, Torlakson sponsored a bill (SB 1868) that requires the Department of Education to encourage school districts to provide "quality" physical education programs. The bill, signed into law by Gov. Gray Davis (D) in October, also mandates that school districts cannot waive physical education requirements for students in grades 10 through 12 who did not pass a physical education exam in grade nine (California Healthline, 10/02/02).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.