As the eyes of Texas are upon the coming budget cuts in Austin, a state that spends the majority of its funding on public education prepares for reductions that will decrease spending for education by at least 16%. While the budget issues are the current center of debate, other bills regarding education will likely gain attention as the 82nd Texas Legislature progresses.
Several of these bills include efforts to implement programs in the Texas public school system that will influence the health and nutrition of students. With the recent passage of the Child Nutrition Bill and with the efforts of Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity campaign, the health and well being of America’s children is a hot topic. Attempts to alter nutrition standards and physical education programs are not new to Texas schools.
Current nutrition policy is regulated by the Texas Department of Agriculture. Measures concerning foods of minimal nutritional value were introduced in 2004 and policy can be found here. Additionally, in the 81st Legislative session, HB 3 modified elective requirements for high school graduates, cutting hours in health education.
In a state where 30% of children are classified as overweight or obese, these issues will likely be addressed. Bills dealing with these topics include 82 (R) SB 225, 82 (R) SB 185, 82 (R) HB 127, 82 (R) HB 281, and 82 (R) HB 280.