The easy availability of low-nutrition snacks may contribute to childhood obesity in minority and low-income communities. In the study, researchers conducted more than 800 interviews on children in grades 4 through 6, from 10 urban elementary schools in which half or more of the students receive free or reduced-price meals. The study found that the most frequently purchased items were high-calorie, low-nutrition foods such as chips, candy and sugar-sweetened beverages.

The study was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its national program Healthy Eating Research. This study is part of a larger national effort, the Healthy Corner Store Initiative, to help store owners in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Oakland, Calif., stock fresh fruit and other healthy snacks.

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