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STUDENT HEALTH INITIATIVE ADVANCES IN TEXAS SENATE
AUSTIN -- The Senate Committee on Health & Human Services today approved Senate Bill 42 filed by State Senator Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville, in response to the escalating problem of overweight children and the diseases associated with obesity. The bill now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
"Historically, our schools have always played a role in the basic health of students by ensuring that they exercise, eat nutritious food and learn how to take care of bodies. In order for us to put children on the path to success, it is also important that we put them on the path to good health. That is the goal of this legislation," Senator Nelson said.
More than a third of Texas school-aged children are overweight or obese, and 1 million children have developed cardiovascular problems related to obesity. Obesity-related illnesses cost $10.5 billion in medical care costs in 2001 in Texas. SB 42 builds on a law authored by Senator Nelson in 2001 requiring physical activity in elementary schools and:
- Expands daily PE to include Texas middle schools and junior highs.
- Restores the School Health Advisory Committee.
- Directs the Texas Education Agency to evaluate the compliance with regulations on nutritional lunches and foods of minimal nutritional value.
- Encourages ISDs to use national guidelines for health and physical education.
- Places health in the foundation curriculum.
- Directs ISDs to report statistics on health and physical activity and publish policies on physical activity, Student Health Advisory Councils, and nutrition guidelines.
- Directs the Texas Education Agency to report annually a summary of the student health and physical activity data provided by ISDs.
Senator Jane Nelson, represents District 12, which includes parts of Tarrant and Denton counties.