Junk-food-loaded school vending machines, long said to lure the nation’s youth to dietary debauchery, might not be making them fat, a new study finds.
At least 33 percent of kids are overweight, the New York Daily News reports, but access to unhealthy snacks — such as sugary candy, salty chips, and syrupy soda — in school might not have anything to do with it, according to Jennifer Van Hook, a Penn State sociology professor.
For several years, Van Hook studied the body mass indexes (BMIs) of 19,000 students in 1,000 private and public schools, Web MD reports.
“What we found basically is, there is no relationship between going to a middle school that sells junk food and gaining weight,” she told reporters.
In Van Hook’s study, the amount of obese kids declined between fifth and eighth grades, the Daily News reports. So surprised was Van Hook by the results, in fact, that she and her team spent two years studying the data.
“Children spend a lot of time in school and we expected school to have a lot of influence on them,” she told the paper.
She concluded that kids’ eating habits at home play more of a role in obesity than kids’ eating habits at school.