Federal policies that strengthened nutritional standards for meals and beverages served at schools—by reducing sugar and increasing whole grains, for example—appear to have been effective in reducing obesity among children, especially those living in poverty. This is according to an investigation led by researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

As reported in Health Affairs, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act implemented in 2012–2013 lowered the risk of obesity by 47% in children ages 10–17 from low-income families. That translates to about a half-million fewer young people with obesity.

Even among children, obesity can raise the risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and mental health problems. Since students who are raised in families with lower socioeconomic status rely more heavily on school meals, it stands to reason that they would benefit the most from government policies designed to strengthen nutrition requirements.

See also: Fresh Food and Vegetables Appear in Schools