Sugar drinks, idle gym time targets of W.Va. group

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Health officials are asking the West Virginia Legislature to eliminate sugar-sweetened drinks from the state's public schools.

Chairwoman Helen Matheny of the West Virginia Healthy Lifestyles Coalition cites the state's high rankings for obesity and Type 2 diabetes in recommending the action.

West Virginia sought to limit soft drinks in schools with a law passed last decade. But Matheny says its wording has created a conflict with state Board of Education and U.S. Department of Agriculture policies.

Matheny said the Healthy Lifestyles Coalition recommends the law's repeal. It also wants public schools to require that a least half of every physical education class involve moderate to rigorous activity.

The coalition is also calling for schools to share their gym and exercise-related facilities more with their communities.

Matheny addressed lawmakers Wednesday.

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