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2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act Tied to Drop in Childhood Obesity

The stronger nutrition standards for school meals and snacks should be maintained, the authors say

WEDNESDAY, July 8, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Implementation of the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act significantly cut childhood obesity among children living in poverty, according to a study published in the July issue of Health Affairs.

Erica L. Kenney, Sc.D., M.P.H., from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues used data from 173,013 youth participating in the National Survey of Children’s Health (2003 to 2018) to assess whether the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was associated with reductions in child obesity risk over time.

The researchers observed no significant association between the legislation and childhood obesity trends overall. However, for children in poverty, the risk for obesity declined substantially each year after the act’s implementation. This translated to a 47 percent reduction in the 2018 obesity prevalence from what would have been expected without the legislation.

“These results suggest that the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act’s science-based nutritional standards should be maintained to support healthy growth, especially among children living in poverty,” the authors write.

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