U.S. School Health Policies Improving, Says CDC


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The epidemic of obesity in the U.S. has reached even children. Though some signs are showing improvement in childhood obesity numbers across the country, parents and policy makers are still looking to schools to teach children healthy eating practices.

This week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced some good news on that front. The agency has released the results of its 2012 School Heal Policies and Practices Study, which shows positive health trends in schools over the past decade. The study, according to the CDC, is the most comprehensive U.S. survey of school health policies.

Fewer schools (33.5%) now allow soda companies to advertise their products on campus, down from 46.6% in 2006. During that same time frame, schools than ban junk food in vending machines rose from 29.8% to 43.4%.

Schools have also made strides to educate parents and students. Over half (52.7%) of schools now provide nutrition information on school cafeteria foods, up from just 35.3% in the year 2000. An emphasis on physical education is also coming back, with 93.6% of elementary schools now required to teach PE, up from 82.6% in 2000.

"Schools play a critical role in the health and well-being of our youth," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "Good news for students and parents – more students have access to healthy food, better physical fitness activities through initiatives such as ‘Let’s Move,’ and campuses that are completely tobacco free."

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