Junk Food Laws May Help to Arrest Childhood Obesity: Study
Obesity a big fat problem for America's future. Even in a recent research done by the London School of Hygiene that indicated, 'the rising level of fatness around the world could have the same effect on the global resources as an extra billion people' found that U.S is single handedly responsible for a third of world's obesity, with 6 percent of the global population existing there. The global population is at 287 million tonnes in which the overweight population brings the number to 15 million tonnes of mass and 3.5 million tonnes exists due to obesity.
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In order to fight back this major issue, a new study published in the August issue of Pediatrics sought to determine whether the state laws associated with the regulation of nutrition content had a relationship with lower adolescent weight gain.
The law clearly restricts the sale of junk food and sweetened deinks in schools that are the main causative agent in inducing obesity in children. Because CDC claims that, school environment is one of the most important settings in which children's food choices and eating habits can be influenced. In individual states, small cross-sectional studies have shown that policies that govern nutrition standards of foods and beverages sold apart from federal meal programs are linked to adolescent weight status.
The longitudinal analysis followed 6300 students in 40 states between 2004 and 2007 in light of the nutritional regulation laws governing each state. Researchers categorized laws into strong, weak, or non-existent and balanced those against statistics regarding within-student changes in BMI, overweight status, and obesity status.
They used the results to compare weight change over time in states with no laws regulating such food against those in states with strong laws and those with weak laws.
On carefully studying the details, the researchers noticed that the students who were exposed to state laws with stronger wording at the baseline gained 0.25 fewer BMI units and were less likely to remain overweight or obese when compared to peers in state with nonexistent nutritional laws.
Students also gained fewer BMI units if they were exposed to strong laws consistently through the study's follow-up. Students under weaker state laws had similar BMI gains as those not exposed to such regulations.
The authors argued that the study offered evidence that local policies could be effective tools.
"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.
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.
Researchers conclude saying, "The results of this study clearly indicate that strength of language, comprehensiveness, and consistency of new competitive food standards will be imperative if the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 is to have success in reducing adolescent obesity."