Kids Gain More Weight When Out of School When are children more likely to plump up -- during the school year or over summer recess? Most of us would guess the former, what with the much-publicized concerns about unhealthy school lunches , phys ed cuts, and junk-food-filled vending machines.But a new study in the American Journal of Public Health challenges this notion with the startling finding that youngsters' body mass indices (BMIs) grew more than twice as fast during summer break vs.during the school year. Researchers from Ohio State and Indiana Universities monitored the BMIs of 5,380 children during kindergarten, first grade, and the summer in-between.The graph below dramatically illustrates how the kids' BMIs shot up when the schools let out.Further sociodemographic analysis revealed that three groups were particularly susceptible to summer weight gain: African-American and Hispanic children, as well as those who were already overweight. So, what could be behind the boost in summer BMIs? We invite input from readers in this issue's Dole Poll.You'll find clues in past issues of this newsletter, such as our reporting on the Harvard study, which pegged an increase in children's summertime TV viewing with as much as 1,000 extra calories a day.This finding substantiates previous research, which suggested that children who watch more than three hours of television a day are 50% more likely to be obese as adults. The problem isn't just the bad foods kids are eating -- it's the good foods they're not.Apparently, the more TV kids watch, the less fruit and vegetables they eat, and in turn, the more likely they are to end up obese.In addition to weight management, fruit and vegetables also help children build strong bones, regulate blood pressure, and fight future cancer risk..