Shockingly, junk food laws may curb childhood obesity
A new study may tip the balance in the debate over whether stricter school nutrition and vending machine policies can play a role in combating the growing childhood obesity problem in this country.
“Children in the study, published online Aug. 13 in the journal Pediatrics, gained less weight from fifth through eighth grades if they lived in states with strong, consistent laws versus no laws governing snacks available in schools. For example, kids who were 5 feet tall and 100 pounds gained on average 2.2 fewer pounds if they lived in states with strong laws in the three years studied. Also, children who were overweight or obese in fifth grade were more likely to reach a healthy weight by eighth grade if they lived in states with the strongest laws.
The effects weren’t huge, and the study isn’t proof that the laws influenced kids’ weight. But the results raised optimism among obesity researchers and public health experts who generally applaud strong laws to get junk food out of schools.”
Childhood obesity is an epidemic with far-reaching consequences, not the least of which is being unable to find “Husky” size pants when back-to-school shopping.