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State's Strict Junk Food Banning May Have Less Impact Than Previously Thought

State's Strict Laws Banning Junk Food Have No Impact on Poor Children

According to new research, California's strict laws aimed to create healthier options in schools and combat child obesity have stalled when it comes to low-income neighborhoods.

Since state laws banning junk food on school campuses were enforced in California, children's risk of becoming obese fell only slightly and only in affluent districts, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"Examining body mass index measurements of 2,700,880 fifth-graders in the state over 10 years, researchers found that students in those [high-income] neighborhoods saw their odds of exceeding a healthy weight fall by about 1% a year. For all other students, the trends remained essentially flat," the article said.

Though many agree efforts to ban soft drinks and snacks high in fat and sugar is a good policy to adapt, experts believe the efforts need to go outside the classroom.

"Even if it’s harder to get a soda on campus, children in lower-income neighborhoods are disproportionately targeted by food and beverage advertising," said Elizabeth Velten, state and national policy director for the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, according to the Times.

For this reason, she believes kids will continue to make bad choices outside of school.

At Beachy, the school Principal Stephen Bluestein currently teaches in, families are mostly low-income and "vendors wait outside the school to sell such unhealthful snacks as corn slathered in mayonnaise and sugar-drenched snow cones," he said.

But Bluestein told the Times that in his last school, an elementary school in a more affluent neighborhood, "there were no such street vendors and that homemade lunches were generally more healthful — whole wheat sandwiches and salads, for instance."

Both schools abide by the same state laws, but how the outside factors affect each's success in combating obesity is obvious.

Many educators in California, including Bluestein, believe the obesity problem stems from outside the classroom and that not one change will serve as remedy.

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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