Middle School Junk Food Doesn't Affect Obesity

Staff Writer
Access to junk food in middle school may not affect eating habits

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

All the talk about banning junk food at middle schools may not actually help the children obesity crisis, a new study shows.

Researchers found that while the percentage of middle school students with junk food at school increased, the actual percentage of overweight or obese students stayed the same.

In fact, although students from fifth to eighth grade often attend schools with more junk food, obesity actually decreases during those ages. The study, published in the Sociology of Education journal, shows that other food environments are more important in a child's health.

"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," researcher Jennifer Van Hook said in a prepared statement. "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."

Furthermore, research shows that children develop their eating habits while in preschool, so middle school environments may not have the same effect on building healthy eating habits.

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