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Eliminating junk foods at schools may help prevent childhood obesity
Date:3/2/2010

SAN FRANCISCO, March 2, 2010 New policies that eliminate sugary beverages and junk foods from schools may help slow childhood obesity, according to a San Francisco State University study released today and published in the March issue of the journal Health Affairs.

"This is one of the very first comprehensive investigations that examined whether childhood obesity trends changed after new statewide policies were enacted in California," said the study's first author Emma Sanchez-Vaznaugh, assistant professor of health education at SF State. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Healthy Eating Research, New Connections Program funded the $100,000 project.

Childhood obesity is increasingly prevalent in the United States, with obesity rates more than tripling during the last 30 years. Today, one in three children is either overweight or obese. Last year, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers reported the first leveling of these child obesity rates. However, there were no reasons given as to why trends might have stalled.

Between 2003 and 2005, Governor Shwarzenegger signed SB 677, SB 965 and SB 12 into law, the first comprehensive set of statewide policies to eliminate sodas and other highly sweetened beverages and restrict the sale of junk foods in all of California's public schools. Although many other states subsequently enacted similar standards, potential effects on childhood obesity were uncertain.

Sanchez-Vaznaugh and co-investigators used eight years of body mass index (BMI) data from fifth and seventh grade students collected as part of California's annual Physical Fitnessgram testing. The study compared BMI trends in the years preceding the enactment of the legislation with the years following the legislation. The data show that before the policies took effect, the rate of overweight students was increasing among all groups in the study (girls and boys in fifth and seventh grades). However, in the
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Contact: Denize Springer
denize@sfsu.edu
415-405-3803
San Francisco State University
Source:Eurekalert

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