Governor Backs Making Nutrition Guidelines Mandatory

JULY 25, 2005 - Posted at 3:37 p.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Governor Huckabee has had a change of heart on school nutrition policy and is now recommending stricter guidelines be mandatory statewide.  Huckabee initially recommended that school districts have discretion in implementing new standards regarding the availability and offerings for vending machines in high schools.

But today, the governor says it should be statewide policy for machines to be available to students at middle schools and high schools no earlier than 30 minutes after the last lunch period.  He also recommends that regular soft drinks not exceed 12 ounces and that at least half of products offered in school vending machines have some nutritional value.

Huckabee says he changed his mind after receiving compelling data showing that a more aggressive approach to combatting child obesity was warrented.  He says making stricter guidelines mandatory sends the right message to students and parents that students' health is important.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)