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Bill barring junk food in schools goes to Governor Brad Henry

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A bill to ban the sale of junk food in elementary schools and restrict them in higher grades was given final approval by the state House Thursday.

The measure goes to Gov. Brad Henry, who is expected to sign it into law.

The legislation is tailored to attack the growing problem of obesity, diabetes and other health problems among young people.

It was pushed by Oklahoma Fit Kids Coalition, a private group made up mostly of health professionals.

The bill restricts the sale of soft drinks and low nutritional snacks, beginning in 2007.

Past efforts to pass similar legislation was blocked by opposition by school administrators and soft drink companies. Some schools officials said they needed the money from vending machine sales to supplement their budgets.

The measure prohibits the sale of foods of low nutritional value in elementary school, except on special occasions. Such foods also would be prohibited at junior high schools, except for special occasions and after-school activities.

In high school, soft drinks and snack items could be sold, but schools must offer healthy alternative foods and provide incentives to encourage healthy food choices, such as lower prices.
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