Senators Introduce Bill To Provide $256M for Exercise, Nutrition Programs
To curb the nation's growing obesity epidemic, a bipartisan group of senators yesterday introduced a bill that would provide additional funding for physical activity and nutrition programs, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The Improved Nutrition and Physical Activity Act, sponsored by Sens. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), would allocate $256 million in its first year for a number of community development initiatives, such as developing bike paths, creating exercise programs in day care centers and nursing homes and encouraging businesses to help employees increase their physical activity. The measure would provide funding for several proposals, including:
- $125 million for the CDC and state governments for education programs that teach young people about good nutrition and physical activity;
- $40 million to clinics that provide services to minority groups that are disproportionately affected by obesity; and
- $10 million to train health care workers to better identify and treat people at risk for obesity (Severson, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/31).
According to state and national public health experts, the bill is the first "broad legislation aimed specifically at America's growing waistline." Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults are either overweight or obese (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/31). The measure largely aims to curb the obesity epidemic among children and adolescents in the United States, where 13% of them are overweight (Hartford Courant, 7/31). "With rising rates of obesity among both juvenile and adult populations, it's critical that we act to raise awareness of healthy behavior and the risk related to obesity," Frist said (San Francisco Chronicle, 7/1). The bill does not ban snack foods or vending machines in schools, an action that some experts say would help reduce the childhood obesity rate. Dodd said he hopes the Senate will approve the measure before October (Hartford Courant, 7/31).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.