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So, Junk Food in Schools Isn't to Blame for Kids' Obesity?

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Wait a minute. Can this be true? Researchers at Pennsylvania State University have released the results of a study in which they found no relationship between children’s obesity levels and the availability of soft drinks, candy bars, and chips at school.


Are you as stunned—and perhaps annoyed—as I am? All the angst and hand wringing that’s gone into banning birthday cupcakes from 1st grade classroom celebrations and eradicating junk-food-dispensing vending machines from high schools has now all been for naught?


Well, not really. Junk food, after all, is junk: high fat, high-calorie, high salt, low-nutrition and, other than tasty, not good. But it turns out that a child’s propensity toward obesity has much more to do with what he eats at home— and after school, and on the weekends, and at friends’ houses—than the French fries he orders for his school lunch. That and the type of food he’s been eating all along. And let’s not forget portion size. 


Perhaps we all should have realized the folly of attacking schools as a source of the childhood obesity scourge. Or, perhaps it’s the only place where we felt we had some control?


What foods have been banned at your children’s schools? And after reading the results of this study, how do you feel about such bans?






#2 Patti 2012-01-25 16:22
My daughter's school has not banned treats or junk food, though they do enforce a ban on home-baked goods. If you bring cupcakes, they should be from a grocery store. (More HFCS for all!) I am fine with the occasional treats she has at school, though I do think teachers give out junk a bit too readily. We are teaching healthy habits at home, and I pack her breakfast and lunch every day.

The kids I worry about are the ones whose parents do not have the education, time or money to make home a healthy-food zone. A cafeteria breakfast and lunch made from healthy, whole foods might be the only chance these kids have to eat right.

So I say keep the occasional cupcake, and improve the day-to-day quality of cafeteria food.
#1 Carissa Rogers 2012-01-25 15:25
I'm not surprised to hear this report? I agree it's MORE important to be 'present' and active in controlling what your kids have access to AT HOME! I'm not saying that's easy, but it helps a lot if I'm careful what I eat in the first place... if pop tarts are available as an after school snack... um.. WHO bought the darn things? Oh that's right, I did!

My tip: After school make sure kids eat a high protein snack when first come home, yogurt, chicken nuggets, protein bar etc.. more often than not after eating a protein snack my kids 'forget' they they were hungry and run off to play and/or homework etc..

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