Why do teens in California consume fewer calories a day than young people in other states? It's because they snack less when at school, a new study finds, and they snack less because state laws have curbed the sale of junk food and banned the sale of soda and sugary drinks in schools, reports NPR. California teens ingest 158 fewer calories daily than teens in other states, an amount that can have a big cumulative effect for the better.
"The evidence is entirely consistent with what the laws were designed to do," says one University of Illinois researcher. The saved calories—150 is roughly the number found in a sweetened 12-ounce beverage—"can mean 15 pounds a year," says a nutrition expert. The long-term effects of the state laws on kids' health need more study, but the current results are "very encouraging," say the study's authors. (Read more nutrition stories.)