The state Department of Public Health says Iowa has done a good job of answering concerns about childhood obesity addressed in a new C-D-C report. Health Department Physical Activity Coordinator, Sarah Taylor-Watts says the report looked at data from 2008 and found nearly 78% of Iowa middle and high schools had access to sugar-sweetened drinks during school.
But Taylor-Watts says a change in the law has made a big impact. She says the Healthy Kids Act has addressed the issue and they are also looking at the amount of “screen time” kids have in daycare. Taylor-Watts says the act banned the sale of sugar-sweetened drinks in during the school day. The “screen time” issue is still in the works.
Taylor-Watts says they are looking change the rules to put a maximum amount of time kids can look at TV, videos, D-V-Ds and the computer at childcare centers during the day. Taylor-Watts says there’s not direct measure of whether limiting the sugared drinks has improved health, but she believes it has.
She says the limits change the environment, so for most of the day the availability of those beverages are restricted, so kid are more likely to make a healthy choice. Changes were made in the food offerings in school cafeterias beginning last year, and Taylor-Watts says it’s too early to tell the impact of that move. But she believes it too will make an impact, and cites changes made that cut smoking.
Taylor-Watts says everyone used to smoke everywhere and over time they made it tougher to find places to smoke and that made smoking less desirable. She says the same thing will happen with school food as they change the environment and kids are given healthy choices to pick from for lunch.