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USM Study Investigates Impact of Fast Food Restaurants on Maine High Schools Student Obesity

A University of Southern Maine School of Nursing study led by Professors Janet Whatley Blum and David E. Harris and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant investigated whether the proximity of fast-food restaurants and convenience stores selling sugary snacks impacts the weight of high schoolers in Maine.

Their study, published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior this summer, surprisingly found that there was no significant relationship between student obesity risk and nearby fast food restaurants and stores selling junk food and soda. The implication of the study is that the obesity problem of Maine students needs to be attacked from multiple fronts, at home, at after-school events, as well as during the school day. 

Janet Whatley Blum, chair and associate professor of exercise, health and sports sciences, and David Harris, professor of nursing, are available for interviews.  For assistance in reaching them, contact USM’s Office of Public Affairs at 780-4200.