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Mass. Lawmakers OK Bill Targeting School Food

Massachusetts lawmakers have sent to Gov. Deval Patrick a bill designed to encourage healthier food options in the state's elementary and high schools.

Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo said on Thursday that the goal of the bill is to combat the growing problem of childhood obesity.

The bill requires schools to adhere to nutritional guidelines for foods and beverages sold to students outside of the federal meal program.

"They won't see the same sodas and sports drinks, those bad beverages, those bad foods in those vending machines and à la carte lines," said Rep. Peter Koutoujian, the bill's sponsor. "They're going to see healthy juices, water, and milks and other choices that they will enjoy but that will also make them healthier and allow them to learn better, as well."

The guidelines, which also apply to food and drinks sold in school vending machines, will be developed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

The bill also requires schools to teach nutrition and exercise, mandates school districts develop wellness programs and encourages schools to use locally grown food.

This program aired on July 23, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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