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Last Updated: Friday, 16 September 2005, 10:50 GMT 11:50 UK
California bans school junk food
Generic photograph of a hamburger
High-fat foods will have to be replaced with healthier options
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed legislation to ban some junk foods from California high schools, in an effort to stem child obesity.

"We are going to terminate obesity in California once and for all," the former bodybuilder and actor said.

The new laws extend to high schools a ban on soft drinks already in place at primary schools.

New limits on fat and sugar content have also been set for vending-machine snacks and food sold in school stores.

Federal nutrition standards currently cover the lunches served by most state-funded schools.

Healthy options

Mr Schwarzenegger signed the bills after walking 1km (0.62 miles) with bicycle racing champion Lance Armstrong and hundreds of schoolchildren.

"California is facing an obesity epidemic," Mr Schwarzenegger said. "Today we are taking some first steps in creating a healthy future for California."

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Schwarzenegger is a long-time health campaigner

Under the new rules, pizza, burritos, pasta and sandwiches must contain no more than four grams of fat for every 100 calories, with a total of no more than 400 calories.

From 2007, students will only be allowed to buy water, milk and some fruit and sports drinks that contain a controlled amount of sweeteners.

It is thought that the move could cost school districts hundreds of thousands of dollar in lost income, as they receive money from companies in return for allowing them to sell their products in schools.

Susan Neely, president of the American Beverage Association, called the soda ban "unnecessary", and said that students would have been better served by a voluntary programme.

School nutritionists have welcomed the changes.

"We won't be selling 10oz (283g) burritos at 700 calories and shouldn't be," Marty Marshall, legislation chairwoman of the California School Nutrition Association, told the Los Angeles Times newspaper.

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