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Legislation aims to get healthier kids

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WASHINGTON, Jun 18, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The American Heart Association is lauding legislation introduced in the U.S. House aimed at fighting child obesity.

The Pedestrian and Cyclist Equity (PACE) Act, introduced by Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., seeks to increase the number of children walking and riding bicycles to school.

The legislation is based on "safe routes to school" concepts, which include both violence prevention and a comprehensive approach to traffic safety involving education programs for both motorists and children. It also includes better enforcement of traffic laws, and the development of projects and programs to help slow the speed of residential traffic.

Oberstar notes that fewer people walk to work than did a decade ago and 75 percent of children don't bike or walk to school, partly because of the lack of accommodation for walkers and bicyclers.

During the last two decades, the number of overweight children has doubled, and tripled for adolescents. Today one in three children in the United States is overweight.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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