Improvements in School Nutrition Have Positive Influence on Youth Eating Behaviors

Dec 03, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- When schools serve healthier, more nutritious food, students do not compensate by eating more unhealthy food at home, a new Yale University study has found. In addition, the study shows that this type of school-based obesity prevention does not lead to weight concerns or body dissatisfaction among students. These findings refute arguments against the proliferation of programs to improve school nutrition, say the researchers. The study appears in the December issue of Health, Education & Behavior.

The study involved six middle schools in Connecticut. Three schools replaced snacks and beverages that did not meet the state’s Healthy Certification guidelines, which impose limits on sugar, fat, calories and portion sizes for all foods sold a la carte, in vending machines, at fundraisers and in school stores. The three other schools made no systematic changes.

were surveyed about dietary intake and weight concerns before and after the intervention programs began. Researchers assessed the frequency with which students ate a range of beverages and snacks at home and at school for the year prior to the intervention, and then at the end of the year of the intervention.

The study found that students in schools that removed unhealthy foods and beverages did not increase their consumption of those foods at home when compared to students in the schools with no changes.

“These data refute the concern that removing unhealthy beverages and foods from schools will result in overeating these foods at home,” said Marlene Schwartz, Ph.D., deputy director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale. “Some may think that ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder,’ but our data tell us that when it comes to sweetened beverages and unhealthy snack foods, a more apt phrase is ‘out of sight, out of mind.’”

Changing the school food environment also did not exacerbate problems of body and weight dissatisfaction. “When a system sells only healthy foods and ,” Schwartz explained, “the message to students and parents is that good nutrition is important for everyone and schools have an important role to play in setting a high standard for how to feed children well.”

Provided by Yale University (news : web)

Explore further: Harmful drinkers would be affected 200 times more than low risk drinkers with an MUP

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study shows parents back junk-food ban in schools

Sep 28, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The issues surrounding children being overweight or obese plague society. In fact, the prevalence of these rates has tripled in the past three decades. But the University of Alberta's Paul ...

Study: Middle school students prefer soda

Oct 05, 2006

A Harvard School of Public Health study has found that children at Massachusetts's middle schools buy soda more often than other items from vending machines.

Advertising Child's Play

Dec 10, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Children on their way to school are five times more likely to see the advertising of soft drinks, alcohol, ice-cream and confectionary than ads for healthy foods.

Recommended for you

Patient-centered medical homes reduce costs

11 hours ago

The patient-centered medical home (PCMH), introduced in 2007, is a model of health care that emphasizes personal relationships, team delivery of care, coordination across specialties and care settings, quality ...

New mums still excessively sleepy after four months

12 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—New mums are being urged to be cautious about returning to work too quickly, after a QUT study found one in two were still excessively sleepy four months after giving birth.

It's time to address the health of men around the world

12 hours ago

All over the world, men die younger than women and do worse on a host of health indicators, yet policy makers rarely focus on this "men's health gap" or adopt programs aimed at addressing it, according to an international ...

User comments : 0