Subjects: Behavioral health
The CDC tells us that nearly 2/3 of American school children are overweight or obese.
And although the 20 year rise childhood obesity had begun to slow recently, the extended economic downturn seemed likely to force poorer folks to buy cheaper foods like soda and salty snacks, a phenomenon that threatened obliterate the recently favorable trend.
But thankfully, that may not be the case after all thanks to some positive steps taken in public school systems across the country.
According to a new CDC report, US middle schools and high schools have begun a serious campaign to stop making available salty snacks and candy to their students.
The report compared results from 2006 and 2008 and was based on a survey of public schools in 34 states. According to the report, the percentage of secondary schools that offered calorie rich, nutrient poor snacks fell from 54% to 36% in that 2 year period.
Similarly, the percentage of schools selling artificially sweetened fruit drinks and regular soda dropped from 62% to 37%.
Schools in southern states were the biggest offenders in 2006 and made the biggest improvements during the survey period. In Mississippi for example, the proportion of schools selling soda dropped from 78% to 25%, and there was a similarly impressive reduction in sales of salty snacks and candy.
“Efforts to improve the school nutrition environment are working,” Howell Wechsler, director of CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health, told the Wall Street Journal.
Clyde Yancy, the President of the American Heart Association, hailed the news and credited tough legislation and policy changes at the local school-board level.
“What kids do in school in large measure dictates what they do away from school,” he said.