For decades, schools let students eat fatty foods with sugary drinks, but new laws curbing junk food sales are changing that, and new evidence shows the laws are helping keep kids healthy.
In states with strong laws about school food, 39 percent of fifth-graders were overweight when the study began. Three years later, only 34 percent of eighth-graders were. In states without junk food laws, there was no change at all in the percent of overweight children.
The authors of the study released online Monday in the journal Pediatrics analyzed data on 6,300 students in 40 states. Their heights and weights were measured in spring 2004, when they were finishing fifth grade and soon to enter middle school, and in 2007, during the spring of eighth grade.
The researchers also examined several databases of state laws on school nutrition during the same time. The states were not identified in the study because of database license restrictions that protect the students' confidentiality, the authors said.
FOX 9 News spoke with local chef Seth Bixby Daughtery, co-founder of Real Food Initiatives -- which helps schools provide healthier meals, about these laws and educating kids about diet.
Bixby Daughtery was recently in Washington D.C. to present a letter to Congress on the subject.
Watch the video for more information.