Wednesday, February 21 , 2018, 7:36 am | Fair 37º

 
 
 
 

Jackson Introduces Bill to Encourage Healthy Eating, Exercise in After-School, Child-Care Programs

State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, has introduced a bill to help prevent childhood obesity by encouraging healthy eating and physical activity in child-care and after-school programs.

Senate Bill 464, the Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Act, proposes standards for physical activity, “screen time,” and the serving of fruits and vegetables for certain licensed infant care and early childhood education programs, and after-school programs.

“Childhood obesity is a challenge we should be tackling on a number of fronts,” Jackson said. “This bill will help ensure that after school and child care programs are working in partnership with parents to make their 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 health care later on.”

The bill would prohibit television or computer “screen time” in early childhood education programs for children under 2 years of age. For children 2 to 5 years old, it limits it to no more than 60 minutes a day for full-day programs. It also requires fruits and vegetables at every meal; prohibits fried foods; permits low-fat or non-fat milk or 100 percent fruit juice, but no beverages with added sugars.

For after-school programs, SB 464 also would require an hour of physical activity, preferably outside, for full-day schedules. It also would prohibit television or movies and limits time spent with digital devices to one hour per day, and only if used in connection with homework or a planned activity.

The bill would apply to child-care and after-school programs that receive state and federal funding under the California Department of Education, including programs funded through Proposition 49, the After School Education and Safety Program Act of 2002. It could affect as many as 450,000 students in after school programs and as many as 270,000 children in child-care programs.

The bill would not apply to programs overseen by the Department of Social Services, nor to home child care or private child-care providers.

“This is an extremely important proposal that will assist California’s children in becoming healthy and staying healthy,” said Cathy Barankin, public policy director for the California State Alliance of YMCAs, the sponsor and a supporter of the bill.

Despite a slight drop in recent years, California’s childhood obesity rate remains dangerously high. Thirty-eight percent of children statewide were obese or overweight last year. Obese children are at an increased risk of becoming obese adults and developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, depression and cancer.

The standards recommended in the bill are based on research and the Institute of Medicine’s Early Childhood Obesity Prevention policies and the National Afterschool Association’s standards.

— Lisa Gardiner is the communications director for state Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson.

 
  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >