Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Study Shows Availability of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages in Middle and High Schools has Declined

This week, Bridging the Gap published a study in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine examining the availability of competitive beverages in U.S. middle and high schools. The study found that:
  • The percentage of public high school students who could buy regular sodas in school declined from 54 percent in 2006-2007 to 25 percent in 2010-2011. 
  • A decline was also seen among middle school students (27 percent to 13 percent) over the same time frame. Despite schools’ progress in removing sodas, the majority of middle and high school students still have widespread access to other sugary beverages. In the 2010-11 school year, for instance, 63 percent of middle and 88 percent of high school students could buy some type of sugary drink at school, while 83 percent of high school students had access to sports drinks (a statistically insignificant decrease from the 90 percent in 2006-07)
  • Access to higher-fat milks (including 2%) also declined, but were still available to 36 percent of middle and 48 percent of high school students.
  • While access to healthier drinks remained stable for high school students, the percentage of middle school students with access declined from 96 percent to 89 percent, a decline that researchers believe may be attributed to fewer vending machines in some schools. 
The study notes that sugar-sweetened beverages remain the main source of added sugar in children's diets, and having access to these types of beverages at school has been shown to contribute significantly to students’ daily caloric intake. The study comes as the U.S. Department of Agriculture prepares to update national competitive food standards.
RWJF weekly update.

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