Junk food in schools may not make kids fat

school kids

The number of obese children in American schools has tripled in the last forty years. In spite of an increase in junk foods, candy and soft drinks in schools, a new study seems to indicate that the two are not linked. They say junk food does not have a direct impact on the weight of students.

“We were really surprised by that result and, in fact, we held back from publishing our study for roughly two years because we kept looking for a connection that just wasn’t there,” said Prof. Jennifer Hook, a Professor of Sociology and Demography.

Hook and doctoral student Claire E. Altman gathered data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten class of 1998-1999. They followed the students up to the eighth grade. The exposure to junk food increased in middle school. So 59.2% of fifth graders had ready access to junk food, but by the eighth grade up to 86.3% could get to the sugary treats. Never the less, the students’ weight remained stable from elementary to middle school. The increase in access had no effect on weight.

“There has been a great deal of focus in the media on how schools make a lot of money from the sale of junk food to students, and on how school have the ability to help reduce childhood obesity. In that light, we expected to find a definitive connection between the sale of junk food in middle schools and weight gain among children between fifth and eighth grades. But, our study suggests that – when it comes to weight issues – we need to be looking far beyond schools and, more specifically, junk food sales in schools, to make a difference,” said Hook.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Sociology in Education


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