OKLAHOMA CITY - A bill moving through the legislative process that is intended to boost the calcium-fortified foods offered in Oklahoma school cafeterias may be confused with another bill aimed at curbing vending machine in schools, according to Senator Paul Muegge, D-Tonkawa.
Senate Bill 1229, authored by Muegge and Representative Al Lindley, emphasizes the importance of dairy and calcium consumption in young Oklahomans.
The point of SB 1229 is to get more calcium into our students at an early age, said Muegge. By offering foods fortified with calcium, we can help ensure our students have the advantage of this essential nutrient.
Muegge says he and Representative Lindley focused on this issue because calcium deficiencies are more common than most people realize, reaching epidemic proportions in recent years and costing billions of dollars annually. Calcium deficiencies are connected to many diseases, especially osteoporosis, hypertension, obesity, colon cancer, post-partum depression, kidney stone formation and polycystic ovary disease.
Let there be no mistake. This bill is not about vending machines or which drinks to sell to students in between their classes, said Muegge. This bill is aimed at offering foods to students in the cafeteria that they would normally eat, with the only difference being those foods would be calcium fortified.
The National Calcium Initiative (NCI) is a national push designed to unify government and non-government organizations, as well as academic and corporate America in the challenge to increase calcium consumption. Muegge says Senate Bill 1229 would support that challenge and rise to the demand of increased calcium consumption in young Americans.
The impact of inadequate calcium intake on a young persons health and the costs related to their health is a driving factor behind this legislation, said Muegge. It is imperative that we focus on public health strategies to promote optimal calcium intake. By increasing the publics awareness of the issue and choosing calcium fortified foods over non-fortified foods, well take a giant step in impacting a healthy future for school-aged children.
Senate Bill 1229 has received the stamp of approval from the Senate and is now being heard by the House Appropriations and Budget Committee.