Removing unhealthy snacks from schools is a step in the right direction

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An article in the December 2009 issue of the Health Education and Behavior, indicates that removing low nutrition items from schools decreased students’ consumption with no compensatory increase at home and no differences in students’ reported weight concerns.  Removing low nutrition snacks from schools is controversial. Although the objective is to decrease the consumption of these foods at school, some critics argue that children will compensate by eating more of these foods at home. Others worry that school-based obesity prevention programs will increase student preoccupation with weight. The present study examines these concerns. Three middle schools replaced snacks and beverages that did not meet nutrition guidelines, whereas three comparison schools made no systematic changes. Students were surveyed about dietary intake and weight concerns before and after implementation of the intervention. Findings indicate that removing low nutrition items from schools decreased students’ consumption with no compensatory increase at home. Furthermore, there were no differences in students’ reported weight concerns. These results support the value of strengthening school nutrition standards to improve student nutrition and provide evidence dispelling concerns that such efforts will have unintended negative consequences.

 

**This information has been shared with you by Barb Flis, mother of two and creator of Parent Action for Healthy Kids.

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