WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today joined Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), and a bipartisan group of Senate co-sponsors, in introducing the Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act of 2007. With childhood obesity rates continuing to climb at an alarming rate, this legislation is designed to update the definition of “foods of minimal nutritional value” and to ensure that all foods that are sold in schools – whether in the cafeteria or in a vending machine – will meet the new nutritional standards. In fact, a recent report in the Journal of the National Medical Association found that between 1980 and 2000, the prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents nearly tripled. Companion legislation will also be introduced in the House by Congressmen Christopher Shays (R-CT) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA). “We all know the problem, and we all know that eating the right amount of healthy foods and getting enough exercise are the answers to preventing overweight, obesity and all the related serious health problems and costs.” said Senator Lisa Murkowski. “This legislation helps ensure that our kids are receiving a consistent, simple message – they should be eating healthy foods – foods that they can find in their schools.” Unhealthy foods are available for sale to students in most schools. According to the Government Accountability Office, 99 percent of high schools, 97 percent of middle schools, and 83 percent of elementary schools have vending machines, school stores or snack bars. The Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act of 2007 will update USDA nutrition standards so that they conform with current nutrition science and address pressing threats to child health and nutrition at school. The proposed legislation does not affect school parties and classroom celebrations, and also provides exemptions for school fundraisers. ###