"This is one of the very first comprehensive investigations that examined whether childhood obesity trends changed after new statewide policies were enacted in California," said the study's first author Emma Sanchez-Vaznaugh, assistant professor of health education at SF State. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Healthy Eating Research, New Connections Program funded the $100,000 project.
Childhood obesity is increasingly prevalent in the United States, with obesity rates more than tripling during the last 30 years. Today, one in three children is either overweight or obese. Last year, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers reported the first leveling of these child obesity rates. However, there were no reasons given as to why trends might have stalled.
Between 2003 and 2005, Governor Shwarzenegger signed SB 677, SB 965 and SB 12 into law, the first comprehensive set of statewide policies to eliminate sodas and other highly sweetened beverages and restrict the sale of junk foods in all of California's public schools. Although many other states subsequently enacted similar standards, potential effects on childhood obesity were uncertain.
Sanchez-Vaznaugh and co-investigators used eight years of body mass index (BMI) data from fifth and seventh grade students collected as part of California's annual Physical Fitnessgram testing. The study compared BMI trends in the years preceding the enactment of the legislation with the years following the legislation. The data show that before the policies took effect, the rate of overweight students was increasing among all groups in the study (girls and boys in fifth and seventh grades). However, in the three year period after the policies became effective, the increase in the number of overweight children was significantly reduced among fifth-grade boys and seventh-grade students of both sexes throughout California. The pre- and post-policy trends in overweight were not significantly different among fifth-grade girls.
The researchers also looked at children in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) separately, because the district passed slightly stricter, but otherwise similar policies in their district the year before the passage of California's SB 677. Prior to the implementation of the policy there was an upward trend of overweight fifth and seventh-grade students in the Los Angeles area. When the researchers compared these trends in the period after the new policies were implemented, they found that the increasing trend in the number of overweight fifth-grade students in the Los Angeles significantly slowed. There were no significant changes among seventh-grade students in Los Angeles.
"Although policymakers cannot directly influence student behavior, our study shows that governmental policies can help define the environment in which children learn to make food choices and thus shape the food behaviors, influencing overweight trends in entire student populations," Sanchez-Vaznaugh said. She also cautions that there is still a lot to do to stem obesity in California's public schools.
She cites school campus proximity -- particularly in poorer neighborhoods -- to stores selling unhealthful foods and beverages that stand in opposition to nutritional objectives set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Limited resources and budget cuts hamper schools from offering both healthful, good-tasting alternatives and physical education programs. "Only about 40 percent of children in our study were considered physically fit," Sanchez-Vaznaugh said.
In addition to teaching at SF State, Sanchez-Vaznaugh is a Kellogg Health Scholar at the University of California San Francisco's Center on Social Disparities in Health. The study's senior author was Patricia Crawford, director of the Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight and Health at University of California, Berkeley. Co-investigators were Brisa Sanchez and Jonggyu Baek from the University of Michigan.
The study, "'Competitive' food and beverage policies: are they influencing childhood overweight trends?" was published in Health Affairs, a leading peer-reviewed U.S. health policy journal http://www.healthaffairs.org/
Denize Springer | EurekAlert!
Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences