Childhood Obesity Statistics
According to government statistics, almost half of all American children and teenagers are overweight or obese. Television is rich with advertisements that focus on youngsters and offer those temptations of sugar and fat followed by more advertisements that offer more temptation by featuring more sugar and fat. Who knew that diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart in disease came professionally packaged?
Then it’s off to school where food choices consist of cheap and unhealthy choices including sugar dense sodas that are available in lunch rooms and vending machines.
A 2010 study posted in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association noted that 40% of the calories that children and teenagers consume daily are had from sugar and fat. The main sources of consumption are soda and fruit drinks.
The result of all this is that child obesity rates have tripled in the last thirty years. Taking note of this unsettling trend, an obesity specialist at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital stated that the situation cannot get much worse. Given the current downslide in the health of America’s young people, junk food laws have been enacted to serve as a firewall against childhood obesity.
The Truth About Junk Food Laws
Let me immediately acknowledge that junk food laws are no doubt fuel for heated political debate and “nanny state” labeling. Industry and cash burdened schools also are voicing opposition, but it is best to let politicians muddle through the politics of it as I am sure they will. Instead, let’s examine whether or not these programs are effective.
A study published online in the Journal Pediatrics suggests that junk food laws are getting positive results.
Some 6,300 students from forty separate states had their heights and weights tracked across a four-year period. Six states had laws that harnessed the sale of competitive foods sold in vending machines, school stores, and during fundraising events. Seven states had weak laws and twenty-seven states had no laws enacted at all. Strong laws were nutrition specific and limited sugars and fats. Weak laws were vague, alluding to the sale of healthy foods but gave no details.
The study found that those children between fifth and eighth grades who lived in states with strong junk food laws gained less weight than other children. Furthermore, those children who were obese while in fifth grade were found to have reached a healthy weight by eighth grade.
In states with strong junk food laws about 39% of the fifth graders were overweight and 21% were obese at the start of the study. When these children reached eighth grade, the numbers had decreased. 34% of the children were now considered overweight and 18% were considered obese. In states with weak laws or no laws, no changes were reported.
Although the changes are modest, they are positive. Although the study does not establish an inarguable correlation between state regulations and children’s weight loss, it is being recognized as the first evidence that junk food laws are likely to make a difference for the better.
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You can read about my decision to have weight loss surgery back in 2003, and since that time my journey from processed food junkie to healthy living so as to maintain a lifetime of obesity disease management. My wish is to help you on your own journey of lifetime obesity disease management. Whether you are planning or have had bariatric surgery, or you want to lose weight through non-surgical means, my shareposts along the way will help you to navigate your journey successfully.
Published On: October 03, 2012