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Jackson Introduces Bill to Encourage Healthy Eating and Exercise in After School Programs

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson

State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) has just introduced a bill to help prevent childhood obesity by encouraging healthy eating and physical activity in after school programs.

Senate Bill 949 establishes the California Distinguished After School Health (DASH) recognition program. It proposes standards for physical activity, “screen time,” and the serving of fruits and vegetables for after school programs. After school programs that meet these proposed requirements will be awarded a special “DASH” certification.

Under the bill, parents could access a list of “DASH” -certified programs on the State Department of Public Health’s website, and after school programs could display their certification on-site.

Childhood obesity is a challenge we should be tackling on a number of fronts,” said Jackson. “This bill is about rewarding and recognizing after school programs that are making that extra, vitally important effort to make children’s health a top priority. Good eating and exercise habits, when developed early, can add to the long-term quality of life and reduce the costs of healthcare later on.”

The bill limits television or computer “screen time” and requires fruits or vegetables be served as snacks on a daily basis; prohibits fried foods, candy or sugary or high sodium foods or foods with transfats; and permits water, low-fat or non-fat milk or 100 percent fruit juice, but no beverages with added sugars.

SB 949 also requires 30 minutes to an hour of physical activity a day and staff training on healthy eating and physical activity standards.

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