Senator Boxer: Fighting Childhood Obesity   

Friday, February 23, 2007  

I want to share some good news about California’s success in fighting childhood obesity and my legislation to build on that success.

California recently earned an “A” on the national Childhood Obesity Report Card issued by the University of Baltimore Obesity Initiative.  One of only six states in the nation to receive the highest grade, California was recognized for its innovative public outreach campaign to fight childhood obesity.

California’s effort was led by First 5 California, a state commission that coordinates education, health, childcare, and other programs for expectant parents and children up to age 5.  Working with the California Health and Human Services Agency, First 5 California last year developed a series of English- and Spanish-language TV ads aimed at parents of young children.  First 5 California followed up with radio, print, and billboard ads encouraging families to make healthier choices for their children, and local First 5 commissions have established nutrition, fitness, and parent education programs to fight childhood obesity.

Of course, we know that there is more to be done: one in three California children is still overweight or at risk of being overweight.  As a result, children are suffering from traditionally adult diseases -- including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol -- and putting their health in great danger.

That is why I have authored and introduced S.100, the Healthy Students Act of 2007.  My bill would ensure that during the school day, children have access to better nutrition and health care, more physical activity, and the skills necessary for a lifetime of good health.

The Healthy Students Act would create a commission of children’s health experts to review existing school nutrition guidelines and develop new, healthier standards that provide more fresh fruits and vegetables and eliminate food of minimal nutritional value.  My bill would also establish a grant program for school nutrition pilot programs that promote healthy eating and provide funding for programs that extend physical activity time at school.  In the coming months, I will be working to see that the Healthy Students Act passes Congress and is signed into law.

Sincerely,

Barbara Boxer, US Senator, California
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer