New York schools allowed to screen students for obesity

The bill also allows schools to do a diabetes risk analysis

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Earlier this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill requiring students to be screened for obesity.

This bill signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo basically authorizes schools to screen for childhood obesity as part of their health services.

“Schools and teachers are really in the best position to not identify health risks before they get serious but to help conquer,” Carl Korn, the NYSUT Press Officer, said.

The New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) were one of the groups advocating for this bill. It will allow for schools to use the information from these screenings to help in their nutritional outreach, educating parents of children who struggle with obesity and lets schools encourage 120 minutes a week of physical activity.

“Their ability to assess potential problems and then to address them with parents and other professionals in the school is really key to early intervention and nipping these problems in the bud,” Korn said.

According to a group called State of Obesity in New York, obesity rates are at 25 percent for the whole state. Nutrition experts across the country feel that childhood obesity is on the rise so the reaction of this bill from a few parents were positive.

“Junk food is cheaper, parents go with the cheaper route sometimes and kids end up suffering without knowing any better because they will eat whatever is put in front of them. I think it’s a good idea to have schools be a little bit better,” Bill Balsamico, a parent, said.

However, other parents pointed out that obesity is something that even adults struggle with so instructing every child on the importance of eating healthy should be something that should already be done.

“I think every kid could benefit from nutritional education whether they are obese or not or if they are at risk for it, I think all of us are,” Tanya Lavallee, a parent, said.

The bill also allows schools to do a diabetes risk analysis as part of their required health checks.

Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) who was a part of the drafting of the bill sent over the following statement:

“The long term risks associated with childhood obesity are undeniable. Our schools should be the first line of defense in ensuring that children understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle. With the signage of this bill, we are taking preemptive action and giving schools the resources they need to educate students and their families so that we can curb this epidemic. I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this important bill.”