In the fight against childhood obesity, communities all over the country are banning the sale of sweets and salty snacks in public schools. But a new study suggests that the strategy may be ineffective.
Researchers at Pennsylvania State University tracked the body mass indexes of 19,450 students from fifth through eighth grade. In fifth grade, 59 percent of the children attended a school where candy, snacks or sugar-sweetened beverages were sold. By eighth grade, 86 percent did so.
The researchers compared children’s weight in schools where junk food was sold and in schools where it was banned. The scientists also evaluated eighth graders who moved into schools that sold junk food with those who did not, and children who never attended a school that sold snacks with those who did. And they compared children who always attended schools with snacks with those who moved out of such schools.
No matter how the researchers looked at the data, they could find no correlation at all between overweight children and attending a school where sweets and salty snacks were available.
“Food preferences are established early in life,” said Jennifer Van Hook, the lead author and a professor of sociology and demography at Penn State. “This problem of childhood obesity cannot be placed solely in the hands of schools.”
At Camp Shane weight loss camp it is believed that weight loss solutions are successful when a healthy lifestyle is maintained. These changes should happen at home throughout a child’s life and not just at school. Effective weight loss comes when there is a lifestyle change which includes moderate exercise along with a healthy diet. For children that often means getting the whole family on board.
While it is unfortunate that some schools still offer unhealthy snacks, the choice is really up to the individual. Parents, try sending your child to school with healthier snacks and lunches so your child can choose a healthy diet. And we know that the temptation to eat unhealthy foods is not just at school so carrying healthy snacks can help in making good choices throughout the day.
Source: The study appeared in the January issue of the journal Sociology of Education.