Study Finds No Link Between Childhood Obesity and Junk Food in Schools

But, you can’t tell that to Moochelle Obama; she’s absolutely convinced that it’s the fault of the schools for not providing “healthier” foods for kids.  Truth be told, inactivity is the main culprit and the solution to the obesity epidemic starts in the home.   Parents need to take responsibility for their children and get rid of that dang-blasted infernal Xbox and do what our parents did to us when we were kids – kick the kids out the door for a few hours every day to play:

Study suggests junk food in schools doesn’t cause weight gain among children

Contact: Daniel Fowler
pubinfo@asanet.org
202-527-7885
American Sociological Association

Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC, January 17, 2012 — While the percentage of obese children in the United States tripled between the early 1970s and the late 2000s, a new study suggests that—at least for middle school students—weight gain has nothing to do with the candy, soda, chips, and other junk food they can purchase at school.

“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 Jennifer Van Hook, a Professor of Sociology and Demography at Pennsylvania State University and lead author of the study, which appears in the January issue of Sociology of Education.

How quaint; Just long enough to allow Moochelle the time she needed to cram her “healthy foods initiative” down the throats of schoolchildren everywhere…

The study relies on data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999, which follows a nationally representative sample of students from the fall of kindergarten through the spring of eighth grade (the 1998-1999 through 2006-2007 schools years). Van Hook and her coauthor Claire E. Altman, a sociology and demography doctoral student at Pennsylvania State University, used a subsample of 19,450 children who attended school in the same county in both fifth and eighth grades (the 2003-2004 and the 2006-2007 school years).

The authors found that 59.2 percent of fifth graders and 86.3 percent of eighth graders in their study attended schools that sold junk food. But, while there was a significant increase in the percentage of students who attended schools that sold junk food between fifth and eighth grades, there was no rise in the percentage of students who were overweight or obese. In fact, despite the increased availability of junk food, the percentage of students who were overweight or obese actually decreased from fifth grade to eighth grade, from 39.1 percent to 35.4 percent.

“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 schools have the ability to help reduce childhood obesity,” Van Hook said. “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.”

According to Van Hook, policies that aim to reduce childhood obesity and prevent unhealthy weight gain need to concentrate more on the home and family environments as well as the broader environments outside of school.

“Schools only represent a small portion of children’s food environment,” Van Hook said. “They can get food at home, they can get food in their neighborhoods, and they can go across the street from the school to buy food. Additionally, kids are actually very busy at school. When they’re not in class, they have to get from one class to another and they have certain fixed times when they can eat. So, there really isn’t a lot of opportunity for children to eat while they’re in school, or at least eat endlessly, compared to when they’re at home. As a result, whether or not junk food is available to them at school may not have much bearing on how much junk food they eat.”

The study results also intimate that when it comes to combating childhood obesity and weight issues, policymakers should put more emphasis on younger children, Van Hook said. “There has been a lot of research showing that many children develop eating habits and tastes for certain types of foods when they are of preschool age, and that those habits and tastes may stay with them for their whole lives,” Van Hook said. “So, their middle school environments might not matter a lot.”

– END –

Well, there you have it; junk food in schools does not increase the obesity rates in children.  No wonder the kids were booing Moochelle Obama the other day:

Kids ‘boo’ Michelle Obama over healthy lunches
by Joel Gehrke Commentary Staff Writer – Washington Examiner

13 January 2012

First Lady Michelle Obama seemed to delight middle schoolers in Virginia when she attended a special screening of her appearance on a Nickelodeon show, but the audience showed some displeasure, booing when she told them  about the healthy food initiative that changes their school lunch menu.

“Booo,” cried the students who heard Mrs. Obama report that “my husband and the Congress passed a legislation to make sure we could put more nutritious foods into the schools.  So you should be seeing more vegetables, more fruit, more healthy foods,” she explained, according to the event transcript.

The disc jockey helping with the event commented, “Uh-oh.  They’re turning,” but the First Lady stayed on message. “I know, they’re turning. It happens,” she replied.  “But this is for you all, because we want you to be the next leaders out there,” Michelle Obama told the children.  “And let me tell you that something I know the cast will tell you, that it’s hard to do what you do if you’re not healthy and you’re not eating right, and you’re not putting good foods in your body, you’re not getting exercise.  And so we care very much that you start learning those habits early.  And schools are going to be stepping up.”

The First Lady also revealed, during the question and answer session, that if she could have any superpower, it would be the power of flight.

Yeah, to get the hell out Dodge!

Explore posts in the same categories: Medicine

4 Comments on “Study Finds No Link Between Childhood Obesity and Junk Food in Schools”

  1. tgusa Says:

    Moochelle (are you going to eat that?) Obama has never seen a food item that she didn’t want to stuff in her mouth.

  2. tgusa Says:

    In spite of what we may hear, over the last few decades childhood obesity has really not changed in my neighborhood. Our kids are no fatter nor skinnier than we were several decades ago. The kids are all right. There are obesity jungles in some regions of the country. Funny that these jungles are almost always in places that have been labeled so called food deserts. Recently a woman in LA was apprehended in Ronald’s parking lot attempting to trade sex for Mc Nuggets. So, its McDonalds fault!

  3. CavMom Says:

    Honestly, if anything is contributing to obesity in this country it would be inactivity. Many children spend endless hours in front of their video games and computers rather than outside enjoying a neighborhood pick-up game of ball. For many kids the only exercise they get is the structured sessions of organized city league sports that their parents are dragging them to.

    • Big Frank Says:

      I agree! The most important thing parents can do is to spend time with their kids,. In the 70’s when I was out of work money was tight. but there was plenty of time to spend with my children, and lots to do that did not cost a dime. We went to parks, playgrounds, museums and wildlife preserves.


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