March 18, 2016
2 min read

Top 5 pediatric nutrition stories for National Nutrition Month

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The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, together with the Department of Agriculture, have declared March “National Nutrition March. Throughout the month, physicians are encouraged to highlight the importance of making healthy food decisions and promote development of sound eating and exercise behaviors as nutritional awareness is paramount to improving health and wellness among pediatric patients.

Developing stories highlight the effectiveness of worldwide efforts to improve children’s access to water and nationally rich foods, decrease student access to sugary drinks and evaluate the eating habits of children, in order to better apply effective policies in schools. Infectious Diseases in Children highlights five informative and noteworthy recent stories in child nutrition news.

“Throughout the month, USDA is highlighting the results of our efforts to improve access to safe, healthy food for all Americans and supporting the health of our next generation,” USDA officials wrote in a press release. “For example, since the updated school nutrition standards were implemented in school year 2013-14, school breakfasts are healthier than ever before, including a serving of fruit, whole-grain-rich grains, and low fat or fat free milk.”

Policies effectively curb availability of sugary drinks in Boston schools

Recent research in Preventing Chronic Disease reported that districtwide mandatory policies instituted in Boston to regulate the availability of sugar-sweetened beverages effectively reduced student exposure to these beverages.

“Our study is a unique evaluation of a district-level competitive beverage policy 9 years after implementation. We provided evidence for sustainability and effectiveness in ensuring access to healthy competitive beverages,” Rebecca S. Mozaffarian, MS, MPH, of the department of social and behavioral sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and colleagues wrote. Read more.

School water coolers associated with reduced BMI among students

The installation of water coolers was linked to reduced weight and BMI of elementary and middle school students, according to recent research in JAMA Pediatrics.

“The goal of this study was to estimate the impact of a relatively low-cost, school-based water availability intervention, water jets, on standardized BMI, overweight, and obesity in elementary school and middle school students,” Amy Ellen Schwartz, PhD, of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, and colleagues wrote. Read more.

WHO: Sugar tax, reduced exposure to unhealthy foods may cut childhood obesity

The Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity recently recommended numerous global policy changes, such as sugar taxes and limits on marketing unhealthy food to children, in response to the increasing levels of worldwide childhood obesity, according to a report presented at the WHO Executive Board Meeting.

“The obesity epidemic has the potential to negate many of the health benefits that have contributed to the increased longevity observed in the world,” Sir Peter David Gluckman, MBChB, MMedSc, DSc, the commission’s co-chairman, and colleagues wrote. Read more.

Children who choose healthy foods equally likely to eat junk food

The healthy eating habits of preschool-aged children living in a low-income area were independent of unhealthy food habits, according to recent research in the Maternal and Child Health Journal.

“The inverse relationship we hypothesized between children’s frequency of intake of healthy foods and unhealthy foods was not supported by the data from our study,” Sarah E. Anderson, PhD, of the division of epidemiology at The Ohio State University College of Public Health, and colleagues wrote. Read more.

Legislation successfully improves nutritional value of school meals

The nutritional value of student meal choices was improved after the implementation of the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, according to recent research in JAMA Pediatrics.

“We found that the implementation of the new meal standards was associated with the improved nutritional quality of meals selected by students,” Donna B. Johnson, PhD, professor of health services at the center for public health nutrition at the University of Washington, and colleagues wrote. Read more.