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Houston’s Spark Parks Initiative Brings a Community Park to Berry Elementary



According to a March 2013 Houston Independent School District (HISD) news blog, a new Spark park at Berry elementary will display art work that represents the neighborhood's Latino heritage. A shared use agreement will make this school park available to the community during after school hours. During the school day, educators plan on incorporating the use of this park into their curriculum. Spark Parks is a non-profit organization based out of Houston that brings uniquely designed parks to underserved areas. Resources to build Spark Parks come from a variety of places including the city's Department of Housing and Community Development, local school districts, Harris County, the private sector, neighborhood groups, PTA/PTO groups, and concerned citizens. Spark Parks was born out of an ...

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Banning Sugary Drinks on CalFresh



Californians who get help under CalFresh, the food stamps program, may soon see their beverage choices limited by state lawmakers, who are considering barring use of the benefits to buy sugary sodas and other unhealthy beverages. State Sen. Michael J. Rubio (D-East Bakersfield) introduced S.B 134 that proposes to modify the list of allowable food items that can be purchased under CalFresh to exclude many sweetened beverages containing more than 10 calories per cup. As of August 5th, the bill is still being read, amended, and considered by California law-makers. Read the full-text of the bill ...

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Banning Energy Drinks on SNAP in Texas



On January 15, 2013, Texas State Representative Terry Canales (D- Edinburg) introduced a bill that would ban energy drinks from being purchased with SNAP benefits. Energy drinks, full of caffeine and sugar, have been linked to poor health, especially in young ...

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Banning Soda on SNAP in Illinois



In January 2012, Illinois State Representative Micheal Zalewski (D- Chicago) introduced a bill that would ban on the use of SNAP benefits to purchase sugar sweetened beverages. As of March 2012, the bill was referred to the rules committee, where it ...

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Health Professionals Petition FDA to Limit Added Sugar



The Center for Science in the Public Interest along with 10 health departments, 20 health and consumer organizations, and 41 health professionals has sent a petition to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asking them to rethink the role of sugar in the American diet. Among the specific requests, the petition asks the FDA to work with the food industry to limit the sale of over-sized sugar-sweetened beverages in restaurants and in vending machines. The petition also asks the FDA to initiate a rule-making process to ensure that the content of sucrose and high fructose corn syrup in beverages is limited to safe levels consistent with authoritative recommendations. Consuming too much sugar has been linked to all sorts of health problems, including childhood obesity. Since minority ...

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Soda and Video Game Tax



While New York City is trying to reign in sugary drink consumption by banning large sodas, the state of New York is joining the fight. A group of state assembly members have introduced H.B. 2982 that would impose a tax on some junk food, like sugary drinks and snacks. But the bill takes it even further. It would also impose a tax on certain video games, compact discs, and other media. All the revenue would be put into a childhood obesity prevention ...

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Soda Tax in Texas 2013



A tax on sugar-sweetened beverages is back on the table in Texas. In late January 2013, State Representative Joe Farias( D- San Antonio) introduced two similar bills, that would tax sugary drinks and then use some of the revenue raised to fund children's health programs. Similar bills were introduced in 2012 and subsequently died in committee. Both 2013 bills met the same fate this summer, but they did bring awareness to the health risks of drinking too many sugary ...

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2011 Soda Tax in Arizona



In early 2011, Arizona State Representative Matt Heinz (D-Tucson) introduced a tax on sugar sweetened beverages. The bill died in committee. This was the fourth attempt at levying a tax of some kind on sugar-sweetened beverages in ...

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2011 Soda and Video Games Tax in New York



In January 2011, New York Assemblyman Felix Ortiz (D- New York City) introduced H.B. 843 that would impose additional tax of 1/4 of 1% on certain food and sugary drinks, and on video games, commercials, and movies, and create a Childhood Obesity Prevention Fund with the revenues. The bill didn't pass, but Ortiz remains a strong advocate for Latino health issues in New York and across the ...

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