Do changing food laws around junk food change the size of children?
Yes it does. This fascinating study showed incredible results in children living in areas where there were strict laws governing the availability of junk foods. The overweight and obese children living there lost far more weight than those living in unregulated areas.
The study analyzed data on height and weight for three years on 6,300 US students in 40 states. “This is the first real evidence that the laws are likely to have an impact,” Dr. Virginia Stallings, director of the nutrition center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia told USA Today.
The researchers found that:
- Children living in states with strong, consistent laws governing snacks availability in schools gained less weight from fifth through eighth grades than children in states with no relevant laws
- Overweight or obese children in fifth grade were more likely to reach a healthy weight by eighth grade if they lived in states with the strongest laws
- The states with the strong laws in lower schools had 39% children overweight when the study began - dropping to 34% by the eighth grade
- The states with the strong laws in lower schools had 21% of fifth-graders obese, dropping to 18% in the eighth grade
- The states with no relevant laws had 37% fifth-graders overweight and 21% obese and this barely changed at all over the three year study period
Study by Daniel Taber, a health policy researcher and colleagues at the University of Illinois at Chicago as published Monday August 13, 2012 in the journal Pediatrics. As reported by USA TODAY CHICAGO and AP on August 13, 2012.