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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

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For Immediate Release: May 1, 2008

Sen. Ron Justice
Sen. Ron Justice

Measure to Address Youth Obesity Heads to Governor's Desk

A bill to get communities more involved in the fight against youth obesity was approved Thursday by the Senate. Senate Bill 1612, by Chickasha Republicans Sen. Ron Justice and Rep. Susan Winchester, now goes to the Governor for his approval.

"This is an exciting opportunity for businesses, churches, families and others within our communities to mentor to Oklahoma's children and help them academically while at the same time teaching them about exercise, nutrition and choosing healthy lifestyles," said Justice. "Our schools have done so much in recent years to help ensure that our children get more physical activity and nutritious lunches, now it's time for the rest of us to step up and do our part to address this growing health crisis in our state."

SB 1612 creates the Quality Afterschool Opportunities Act to Reduce Childhood Obesity and Improve Academic Performance. Under the program, the Department of Health would be responsible for awarding grants to comprehensive, community-based afterschool programs that include evidence-based obesity reduction components. Various community partners could include child care providers, community- and faith-based organizations, health care professionals, civic leaders and others. These partners would be in involved in the program on a voluntary basis.

"Creating organized programs to help our kids get active and learn will support their growth as strong individuals. This bill will assist these programs and ultimately build better communities," said Winchester.

If signed by the Governor, the new law would go into effect November 1, 2008.

For more information contact:
Senator Justice's Office:  (405) 521-5537

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