One of the most important things that state education officials and legislators have done recently is the renewed emphasis on promoting healthy lifestyles among our youth.

Beginning with the school year that starts in August, schools will begin the push to have healthier meals in cafeterias and healthier snacks in vending machines that are on school property. Schools with open lunch periods can't control what their students consume at lunch but they can control the offerings on campus.

Norman schools have begun the process of promoting healthy snacks and healthy lunches. Schools have Fit and Healthy School Committees but it's hard from the educators' end when kids don't eat that way at home and are expected to change their habits once they walk through the school door.

In 2006-2007, Senate Bill 312 requires school districts to provide physical education programs to all students. They must include physical activity and physical education instruction aligned to the state's academic standards.

Childhood (and adult) obesity is an epidemic in our country. Much of it can be prevented by teaching healthy lifestyles at an early age.

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