Kids probably hate state laws that regulate sales of candy, snacks, and sugary drinks in public schools, but those types of laws appear to work: Adolescents living in such states gained less weight over three years than those in states with no snack laws or weaker ones, a new study finds. Though the study found a strong association between such strict laws and healthier weight in children, it stopped short of saying the laws were directly responsible for the healthier weights, the New York Times reports.
Even so, the study is a big deal, considering few solutions have been found to fight an obesity rate that's been on the rise since the 1980s. Public health experts recommend snacks and other so-called "competitive foods" should not be allowed in schools, and nowadays some schools either ban them or place strict requirements on their nutritional values. Subjects in the study gained about 2.25 fewer pounds between fifth and eighth grade if they lived in states with stricter laws; the study also found that those who were already obese in fifth grade were more likely to get down to a healthy weight if their state had stricter laws.