Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Horizon Foundation tackles obesity
It is not unusual for public health efforts to be labeled part of the "nanny state" or "big brother." Look at the ridicule of the effort of New York Mayor Bloomberg to limit the size of sugery soda sold in fast food establishments in New York City. Sugary drinks are now pointed to as the largest contributor to the obesity problem in children.
This effort to limit sugary drinks is now being played out in schools. Selling snacks and drinks high in sugar have been a source of revenue for schools and booster clubs for a long time. Recently a report on a study on the impacts of these items in schools point to its role in children obesity. According to Time Magazine:
Laws strictly curbing school sales of junk food and sweetened drinks may play a role in slowing childhood obesity, according to a study that seems to offer the first evidence such efforts could pay off. The results come from the first large national look at the effectiveness of the state laws over time. They are not a slam-dunk, and even obesity experts who praised the study acknowledge the measures are a political hot potato, smacking of a “nanny state” and opposed by industry and cash-strapped schools relying on food processors’ money. But if the laws have even a tiny effect, “what are the downsides of improving the food environment for children today?” asked Dr. David Ludwig, an obesity specialist at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital. “You can’t get much worse than it already is.”
Children in the study 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.
Posted by duanestclair at 4:14 AM