Children are obese? Then check on the food sellers near the schools

It is not just the taste, but the proximity matters for selecting food by the school children.

Most children choose their food, depending the availability nearby and end up obese due to fast food near the schools, says a study.

The study, by NYU School of Medicine, involved1 million children attending New York City public schools to identify their choice of food. It was found that proximity to fast and convenience food sellers impact a student’s chances of becoming obese.

It was found that among children between the ages of 5 and 18 living within a half-block of (or roughly 0.025 miles from) a fast-food outlet, 20 percent were obese and 38 percent were overweight. Similarly, among children who lived within a half- block of corner stores or bodegas, 21 percent were obese and 40 percent overweight.

For every half or full block farther away that students lived from unhealthy food sources, obesity figures dropped from between 1 percent to more than 4 percent, depending on the type of food outlet, according to the study authors.

“Our study indicates that living very close to food outlets with a lot of unhealthy, junk food choices is likely not good for reducing the risk of children being overweight and/or obese,” says study senior investigator Brian Elbel, PhD.

“Just having food outlets a block farther away — and potentially less convenient or accessible — can significantly lessen children’s chances of being obese or overweight,” adds Elbel, who says his team’s latest study is the largest analysis to date of urban childhood obesity in the United States.

Experts estimate that about one in five school-age children in the United States have an excess of body fat and are now obese, which is 300% up from that in 1970s.

So, be careful about the food sellers around the school. It all depends how easily and quickly they can access junk food.

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