Fighting for healthier cafeteria food can cut child obesity

Here's a back to school project: get involved with your PTO to advocate against junk/fatty foods in the schools

As our children go back to school, there are new looks at how healthy their in-school eating is.

As rates of childhood obesity shoot up (a third of our kids are obese or overweight), a study shows that states with stricter regulation on nutrition content of foods have lower adolescent weight gains. Dr. Rich O'Neill, psychologist and medical researcher at SUNY Upstate, says thinking for school food is changing from 'serve junk foods so that the kids eat something' ---an 'obesogenic environment---to 'limit junk food availability.' Critical years appear to be from 5th to 8th grade---children who gain weight in those years tend to have a harder time shedding the pounds in later years.

The study, published this past week online in Pediatrics, looked at success rates in 11 states that have strict laws regulating the sale of sugary drinds and junk food snacks in the schools---but O'Neill says lobbying a PTO to make the case to a school board can be just as effective. Perhaps a back to school project for parents...