Interesting study. While I am not convinced that only focusing on the school, whether through food options or increased physical activity, will ‘cure’ obesity given the importance of the home environment, this study suggests that well-designed regulations can contribute and make a difference. Quote:
“Competitive-food laws can have an effect on obesity rates if the laws are specific, required and consistent,” said Daniel Taber, a fellow at the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Chicago, who was one of the authors of the study.
Still, many states have no laws at all regulating the sale of such foods, and the group that helped finance the study, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, argued that the results made the case for a strong national standard for snacks and beverages in schools. The United States Department of Agriculture has been developing new standards for some time, but they have yet to emerge.
Some experts argue that a real reduction in the obesity rate will come only when many more local governments adopt tough policies to change the food environment. Still others say that school is such a small part of a child’s day that healthier options will make little difference when coupled with a home environment with a lot of unhealthy choices.