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CHILDHOOD OBESITY WORK MOVES FROM THE CLINIC TO THE WHITE HOUSE
Researchers at Temple University Have Been Carrying Out First Lady Michelle Obama's Mission of Reducing Childhood Obesity
February 18, 2010
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Next, they moved into the neighborhoods. In fall 2009, CORE and the Food Trust produced another study that highlighted the need for neighborhood corner stores to offer more healthy options. These stores were frequent stops of elementary students going to and from school, the researchers said, and as a result, the children tended to pick up almost 360 extra empty calories per day.
Between January and June 2008, the researchers looked at more than 800 purchases made by students in grades 4-6 at 10 Philadelphia schools who frequented one of 24 area corner stores before and after school. During each visit, children spent about $1.07, and most frequently bought chips, candy and sugar-sweetened beverages. Calories from each purchase came mainly from carbohydrates (65.6%), followed by fat (29.2%), and protein (5.2%).
“Students are stopping at these stores sometimes twice a day, everyday,” said Kelley Borradaile, an Assistant Research Professor of Public Health at CORE and lead author of that study. “It is important for us to be aware of students’ snack preferences, so that we may substitute healthier options in the future,” she said.
For example, the study authors said switching from regular chips to the baked variety would reduce calorie intake by about 14 percent, and replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with water would reduce calorie intake by about 60 calories per purchase.
With many underserved areas lacking a large supermarket that would offer healthier options than local corner stores, Foster and his team said it becomes imperative to find alternate ways for children to get access to healthy foods.
“The increasing prevalence and serious consequences of childhood obesity have pushed us to find solutions that go beyond the clinic and reach greater numbers of children,” he said.
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