September 23, 2008

In The News: Do Soft Drink Bans At Schools Work?

Today's New York Times features a study published in the September issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, which The Times briefly summarizes as demonstrating that "soft drink consumption of children at schools where it was sold and children at schools where it was not... did not [show] a big difference."

In fact, approximately "4 percent fewer children from the no-soda schools said they did not drink it."

So is this it? Has legislation to ban soft drinks from schools failed?

Not quite.

I find it odd that this study only focused on elementary school children.

After all, the "soda problem" mostly revolves around teenagers, many of whom get an average of 15 percent of their daily calories from soft drinks.

I think this same study conducted in middle and high schools would very likely show more positive numbers.

Forget sodas for a minute and just answer this.

Who is more likely to make a pit stop -- and have loose change to use -- at a hallway vending machine? A first grader walking back from art class with his teacher in single file or a 10th grader with two minutes to spare on his way to geometry class?


HangryPants said...

I agree! Not many second graders where I work have the opportunity to choose their own beverages during the day!

The other thing to consider is: if soda is out, what is in? Gatorade? Juice? Water? Soda is probably the worst culprit, but it's important to think about what the best alternative is as well.

Thanks for raising the issue! I love nutrition in schools stories.


Andy Bellatti said...

Excellent point, Heather! A lot of people forget that "healthy sounding" alternatives like Vitamin Water have as much sugar as soda...