Strong state laws regulating snacks, sugary drinks in schools may limit weight gain

The New York Times reports, “Adolescents in states with strict laws regulating the sale of snacks and sugary drinks in public schools gained less weight over a three-year period than those living in states with no such laws,” according to a study published in Pediatrics.

Investigators “tracked weight changes for 6,300 students in 40 states between 2004 and 2007, following them from fifth to eighth grade.” The researchers “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.”

The AP reports, “Children in the study gained less weight from fifth through eighth grades if they lived in states with strong, consistent laws versus no laws governing snacks available in schools.”

For instance, children “who were 5 feet tall and 100 pounds gained on average 2.2 fewer pounds if they lived in states with strong laws in the three years studied.” Meanwhile, “children who were overweight or obese in fifth grade were more likely to reach a healthy weight by eighth grade if they lived in states with the strongest laws.”

Reuters points out that the investigators used National Cancer Institute criteria to determine how strong or weak the laws were.

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