New law authorizes schools to screen students for obesity, instruct them and their parents on the importance of healthy eating habits
Bronx, NY - Senator Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo celebrated Governor Cuomo signing their legislation into law to help stop childhood obesity and better educate students on healthy lifestyle choices.
The legislation, signed on August 21, allows for schools to include a diabetes risk analysis during health exams and allows for the creation of school district nutrition advisory committees.
“The long term risks associated with childhood obesity are undeniable. Our schools should be the first line of defense in ensuring that children understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle. With the signage of this bill, we are taking preemptive action and giving schools the resources they need to educate students and their families so that we can curb this epidemic. I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this important bill,” said Senator Klein.
“Obesity and diabetes are at epidemic levels and our public health systems must pay full and immediate attention to the harm being caused. We have over 10,000 children under 18 years of age with Type 2 Diabetes in the New York State Medicaid program. Health experts now tell us that 50% of all Hispanics born after 2010 will develop this disease. In New York State, we have 35% of our population classified as pre-diabetic due to obesity. Every step we take to combat this problem is significant in saving lives and reducing health care costs that otherwise can bankrupt our health care system,” said Assemblyman Marcos Crespo, Chair of the Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force.
The new law will help educate students on the risks of childhood obesity by integrating health education in other classes, such as the importance of a healthy diet within the context of biology and chemistry.
School district nutrition advisory committees will be able to make recommendations on nutritional practices and on educational information for parents and guardians. In addition to obesity, information on other diseases such as asthma, chronic bronchitis and respiratory diseases are included.
Advocates praised the bill’s signage into law.
“The New York State Association of County Health Officials praises the passage of this legislation which will raise parental and school awareness regarding obesity and its related diseases and give educators the means to collaborate with parents to improve children’s health,” said NYSACHO Executive Director, Linda Wagner.
“At the YMCA, our mission and commitment is to improve childhood health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, childhood obesity is a national epidemic that has resulted in today’s generation having a shorter life expectancy than their parents,” said Kyle Stewart, Executive Director of the Alliance of New York State YMCAs. “Thanks to Senator Klein and Assemblyman Crespo’s legislation, we will increase awareness and help to reverse this alarming trend.”