Originally published August 5 2010
Mass. governor signs improved nutrition bill
by Jonathan Benson, staff writer
(NaturalNews) Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick recently signed a bill banning deep fryers from public schools. The new bill also requires that fresh fruit and non-fried vegetables be made available in cafeterias and in other locations where food is sold to children.
The goal of the bill is to combat childhood obesity in the state, as well as its related diseases like type-2 diabetes. In addition to its food mandates, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) will also now be working on a plan to improve overall nutrition standards statewide.
According to one of the legislators of the bill, nearly 30 percent of Massachusetts middle school children are overweight or obese, and 33 percent of children born in the year 2000 will develop type-2 diabetes at some point in their life.
"This is a piece of legislation that has made perfect sense for 11 years," explained Rep. Peter Koutoujian, who authored the bill back in 1999.
Since the bill was passed, the resulting food changes have seen favorable acceptance among children. Local day-care centers began serving apples, strawberries and watermelon to hungry children who were more than happy to feast from the new selection of healthy fruits.
A new commission will be formed by MDPH to develop both nutrition and recreation programs to help combat childhood obesity. The bill may also help to expand the "Chefs in School" program, an initiative that provides free, healthy breakfast and lunch meals to low-income children across the state.
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