Healthier Food Choices Can Be Taught

Results of a new study to be released today in the April issue of Pediatrics will show that healthier food choices and removal of high calorie foods in school vending machines makes a difference. Additionally snacks were scaled back and they banished candy. researchers handed out raffle tickets for wise food choices and spent hours teaching kids, their parents and teachers about good nutrition.

It paid off. The number of kids of obese children during the two-year experiment was half the number of kids who got fat in schools that didn't make those efforts. It's a really dramatic effect from a public health point of view.

Public health officials have long maintained that schools are ideal settings for programs that target childhood obesity. Children spend long hours each day at schools and eat lunch and often breakfast at school. But previous school-based programs have had mixed results. The Philadelphia study put to the test a program developed by the Food Trust, a local nonprofit which works to improve access to affordable, healthy food.