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Do helmet laws make kids fatter?

The Orange County Social Services Agency released its 15th annual “Conditions of Children” report Tuesday, and it provoked a lively discussion of childhood nutrition when it was delivered to the Board of Supervisors.

Children in the county tend to be more physically fit than kids in the state overall. But 21 percent of low-income O.C. kids age 5-20 are still overweight. Chris Norby, a former teacher, asked whether school lunches are too carb-heavy, which makes them less expensive for schools to buy but can exacerbate the obesity problem.

Norby made a larger point: that children should get out of the house and exercise more. “I think bicycle helmet laws, while well-intentioned to protect kids, probably have contributed to this as well, because when you make it more difficult for kids to exercise because maybe you’re concerned about his safety, sometimes you have a negative effect where the kids don’t do as much of it,” he said during the meeting. He did, however, support the state under-18s helmet law.

Wed 21 Oct 2009

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