ACT NOW: Support Healthy School Nutrition. Get Junk Food Out of MA Schools.
Support MPHA’s Efforts to
PROTECT OUR CHILDREN’S HEALTH!
House Bill 4376, An Act to Promote Proper School Nutrition
THE PROBLEM: Junk food and sugary drinks are contributing to an epidemic of obesity and diabetes among our children.
In Massachusetts, 26% of high school students are overweight or obese.
Rates of obesity among children have more than doubled in the past two decades.
Overweight children are at higher risk of developing diabetes, asthma, heart disease, depression and low self-esteem. Poor nutrition also reduces children’s ability to learn.
Children are over-eating food and drinks high in fat and sugar. One source of this problem is the sale of junk food in schools. The easy availability of candy bars, chips, and soda in school vending machines encourage unhealthy eating habits.
A SOLUTION: Healthy food choices for our children at school.
The time to prevent obesity is in childhood and schools are an excellent place to start. Children learn the habits of a lifetime in school – one of those habits should be healthy eating.
HOUSE BILL 4376, An Act to Promote Proper School Nutrition:
- Directs the Department of Public Health (DPH) to establish healthy standards for snacks and beverages sold in vending machines, school stores, and cafeteria ala carte lines. These standards are to be in accordance with Institute of Medicine guidelines, which recommend that sodas be replaced with water, low- and non-fat milk, and juice; fat and sugar be reduced in snacks; and fresh fruits and vegetables be made available in cafeterias.
- Establishes a Governor’s Commission on Childhood Obesity to develop a coordinated statewide plan to reduce childhood obesity.
- Requires DPH and the Department of Education (DOE) to set guidelines for the training of school nurses to help children with diabetes and eating disorders and to collect and evaluate data on these conditions.
- Calls for an investigation of how to make it easier for schools to purchase fresh foods from local farmers. One 20 ounce soda has 17 teaspoons of sugar and 250 “empty” calorie
ACTION: Your help is needed to pass this bill!
- ENDORSE the bill by filling out and returning the endorsement form to MPHA (click here).
- CONTACT your state legislators and urge them to support House Bill 4376, An Act to Pro-mote Proper School Nutrition. To determine who they are, visit www.WhereDoIVoteMA.com, or contact MPHA. Then call your legislators at the State House: (617) 722-2000.
- SHARE copies of this fact sheet with your friends, family, and neighbors and urge them to contact their legislators.
- ASK your school board members, PTA, church, or hospital to endorse this bill.
- WRITE a letter to your local newspaper in support of this bill
Sponsored by Representative Peter Koutoujian, the School Nutrition Bill (H. 4376) would help prevent childhood obesity and encourage healthy eating habits in all children by establishing standards for snacks and beverages sold or offered in schools.
In the past two years, the Massachusetts Public Health Association has published letters in dozens of local newspapers, garnered over 100 organizational endorsements, and held events across the state. Thanks to hard work, the bill has advanced through two committees, Public Health and Health Care Financing.
The bill is now in the House Ways and Means Committee. Representative Christine Canavan is circulating a letter of support among her House colleagues for signatures. This letter asks Ways & Means Chairman Robert DeLeo to bring the bill to a vote!
Click here to send an email to your state representative. Urge him or her to sign the letter of support for the School Nutrition Bill (H. 4376).
Please follow up your email with a phone call. To determine who your legislators are, visit www.WhereDoIVoteMA.com. The State House phone number is 617-722-2000.
For more information contact Eric Weltman at MPHA: (617) 524-6696 x 111 or EWeltman@MPHAweb.org.