MPH/MSSP student Savannah Knell spent her summer at the White House working in food policy. She noticed that with the growing obesity trends, topics such as food access, physical activity patterns, and unhealthy dietary habits are of greater interest to the research community. Many studies now focus on school-based studies to better understand childhood obesity trends since many children receive a significant portion of their meals at school.
In addition to research, legislation like the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 demonstrates a political approach to help children get the nutrition they need to learn, grow, and succeed in school life. A highlight of the bill was giving the USDA the authority to set nutritional standards for all foods sold regularly at schools during the day, including vending machines (White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity, 2011).
Overall, the combination of policies addressing increasing healthy food access, nutrition education efforts, and physical activity opportunities prove to be helpful in combating the epidemic of childhood obesity.
Read Knell’s full article here.