Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jessica A. Chittenden

May 08, 2007

Coalition of Advocates Supports Healthy Schools Act

Governor Eliot Spitzer, Lieutenant Governor David Paterson, and State Health Commissioner Richard Daines were joined today by a coalition of children’s health advocates who voiced their support for the Governor’s Healthy Schools Act, which will create healthier schools by improving nutrition and enabling local communities to shape school wellness policies.

"Good nutrition and healthy eating habits begin when children are young. This legislation is an important step in the fight against childhood obesity, which has reached crisis levels in the State of New York," said Governor Spitzer. "By working together with local communities we are building a strong foundation for academic performance and future success that is built upon good nutrition and robust physical activity."

Lieutenant Governor David A. Paterson said: "Childhood obesity has become an epidemic in New York -- leading to poor health and poor educational performance. The Healthy Schools Act provides important tools towards curtailing its spread among our youth by emphasizing healthy foods. We all share responsibility for our children’s health -- now schools will be a key front in this battle."

State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines said: "Offering nutritious foods in a school environment is a key element in our battle to prevent childhood obesity. With so many students eating several meals a day at school, we are able to teach them life-time lessons in nutrition which will affect the food choices they make today and in the future."

The Healthy Schools Act will:

- Limit the types of beverages that may be served during the school day

to milk, 100-percent fruit and vegetable juices; and water;

- Enhance the Department of Health’s responsibilities under the

Childhood Obesity Prevention Program to include collaboration with

nutrition and physical education professionals by utilizing

age-appropriate measurements of body mass index (BMI) to develop a

comprehensive approach to improve health and nutrition for school age


- Ensure that more students receive a daily breakfast by requiring

districts that participate in the National School Lunch Program to

establish a school breakfast program for middle and high schools;

- Require the annual development of local school wellness policies to

address health and nutrition in schools and to consider expanding

breakfast, lunch and recess to ensure that sufficient time is

provided to eat nutritious meals and participate in physical


President of the New York State PTA, Maria DeWald said: "Since its founding in 1897, NYS PTA has worked diligently to ensure both physical and nutritional health for New York’s children. Most recently, our efforts have focused on building an awareness of healthy choices, "saving recess" and reducing the availability of non nutritious a la carte and vending items that unfortunately have become part of today’s school culture. New York State PTA strongly supports Governor Spitzer’s efforts to invest in strategies that will assure the development of healthy minds by attending to the value of building healthy bodies."

District Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics, District II, Dr. Henry Schaeffer said: "On behalf of the more than 5,500 pediatricians I represent, we are stunned and saddened by the high cost of our state’s epidemic of childhood obesity. Pediatricians are seeing children every day who are suffering from serious diseases that formerly only affected adults. We can and should use the school cafeteria as a learning environment: A place where children are presented with healthy options and are encouraged to make healthy choices. We are pleased to join Governor Spitzer and our allies in the legislature in this effort to make positive changes in school food programs and joining these programs as partners into our fight against childhood obesity."

Executive Director of the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, Amie Hamlin said: "We are thrilled that Governor Spitzer is introducing a bill that puts children first, instead of the food industry. With this bill, we can achieve real results: healthy weights, a reduction in diabetes and other diet related diseases, and better grades and behavior."

President of New York Farm Bureau, John Lincoln said "New York’s farm families produce much of the fruits, vegetables, and dairy products that our children need to establish healthier eating habits. New York Farm Bureau is pleased that Governor Spitzer’s legislation encourages the consumption of these nutritious, New York grown products in our school system."

Also joining Governor Spitzer in supporting the Healthy Schools Act were:

American Cancer Society;

American Diabetes Association;

American Heart Association;

Be Active New York State;

Children’s Aid Society;

Cornell University;

Healthy Schools Network;

Medical Society of New York;

New York State Academy of Family Physicians;

New York State Dietetic Association;

New York State Society of Naturopathic Medicine;

New York State United Teachers; and

Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy.

2007 Press Releases