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Failing grade for snacks in schools


Bill would toss out unhealthy competition to lunches



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A bill to ban the sale of unhealthy foods in public schools (unlike the foods shown above) to combat childhood obesity is gaining support among local school officials. Shawn Kelley. (click for larger version)
February 14, 2010
A bill that would ban the sale of unhealthy foods in public schools to combat childhood obesity is gaining support among local school officials — though some see it as only one part of a multifaceted social issue.

"I think it can be very effective. I think it can be that next step," said Oxford Public Schools Food Service Director Angela Scolaro.

The bill making its way through the state Legislature would prohibit public schools from selling unhealthy foods that compete with the federal government's lunch program, according to a press release from the office of state Rep. Peter Koutoujian, D-Waltham, who sponsored the bill.

House lawmakers passed the bill several weeks ago and it will now move on to the Senate, according to a Statehouse aide. Koutoujian first proposed the law seven years ago.

Among other provisions, the bill would require schools to offer non-fried foods and more vegetables to students, and would require foods outside of the federal program that are not prepackaged to have nutritional labels.

Parents would still be able to send their kids to school with foods of their choice and students would still be able to buy less healthy foods off school grounds, according to the press release.

So far, local school administrators are generally supportive, but some of them expressed concerns.

See Monday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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