The measure would expand a program that provides meals after school to all 50 states. It also gives government to power to cut down on greasy foods and extra calories at school.
Health advocates say access to high fat and sugary choices ruins appetites for wholesome meals in the lunch room. Experts discussed similar issues Friday at an action summit of the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity. Representatives from public health, government, education, business and more are forming strategies to help fight obesity by promoting nutrition and physical activity.
Elissa Bassler, CEO of the Illinois Public Health Institute, says the state now has the four highest rate of childhood obesity in the country.
"We are not saying that it's not about what individuals do. But we are saying we have set up barriers, and we have not made it as easy as it could be for people to eat healthy, and we need to address those barriers and make the road easier for people to make those choices," said Bassler.
Among the strategies under consideration are taxing sugary beverages, adding more bike lanes and walking paths, bringing more food stores options to rural and urban areas and more restaurant menu options.
Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity: www.preventobesityil.org