U.S. laws strictly curbing school sales of junk food and sweetened drinks may play a role in slowing childhood obesity, according to a study that seems to offer the first evidence such efforts could pay off.
The results come from the first large U.S. look at the effectiveness of the state laws over time.
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. Also, 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.
The effects weren't huge, and the study isn't proof that the laws influenced kids' weight. But the results raised optimism among obesity researchers and public health experts who generally applaud strong laws to get junk food out of schools.