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Junk-food bans pay off

(article, Culinate staff)

The news is in: Students in California are actually eating less junk food since their schools banned the stuff. As Anahad O'Connor wrote in the New York Times, "Five years after California started cracking down on junk food in school cafeterias, a new report shows that high school students there consume fewer calories and less fat and sugar at school than students in other states."

The students were eating about 160 calories a day less than their peers in other states, the equivalent of a small bag of potato chips. "While a hundred calories here or there may not sound like much, childhood obesity rates have more than tripled in the United States in the last four decades, and many researchers say that most children and adolescents could avoid significant long-term weight gain by cutting out just 100 to 200 extra calories a day," O'Connor explained.

Of course, the school-lunch struggle ain't easy — and school lunch is only one meal a day. In a recent HuffPo op-ed, Jamie Oliver touted his May 19 fundraising event, Food Revolution Day, and called for families to take responsibility for eating habits. He didn't let schools off the hook, either:

bq. Everyone paying taxes, whether they're a parent yet or not, should feel confident that when they send their children to school they will be fed right, educated about food and taught the skills they need to set them up for life.