Elementary Schools Still Supports Sugary Drinks

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Over half of elementary school children in the US can still buy high-fat milk, sodas, sports drinks and fruit drinks in area's such as school snack bar lines, snack bars and vending machines as these elementary school still support sugary drinks.

Even 1 soda a day can hike your diabetes risk according to a study completed in October of 2010. Lead author of the study, Lindsey Turner of the University of Illinois at Chicago, stated, "Elementary school students are still surrounded by a variety of unhealthy beverages while at school.

"Sugar-sweetened sodas have been linked to childhood obesity. Because kids spend so much time in school, getting those beverages out of school should be a public health priority in our opinion."

It was noted that nearly 61 percent of the students in both private and public elementary schools could buy high-calorie drinks from vending machines or school stores in 2009 compared with 49 percent a couple of years earlier.

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The researchers found that during the three year study period, most public school students had access to higher-fat milk at lunch (68 to 79 percent), but the percentage declined significantly last year.
Turner added, "What we found was over time there was not a substantial decrease in sugary beverages, which is what we would have hoped to see.

"We also found that school stores become more common, as did a la carte lines in lunch rooms." The U.S. Department of Agriculture National School Lunch Program, which served meals to more than 31 million students in 2008, does not allow sweetened beverages, but students often buy drinks from vending machines, school stores or lunch room snack bars.

There have been widespread efforts to remove these so-called "competitive beverages" from schools, and the Institute of Medicine has called for competitive beverages in elementary schools to be limited to water, 100 percent juice and nonfat or 1 percent flavored or unflavored milk.

The authors concluded, "Our results show some encouraging changes in the availability of healthy beverages in schools, but there are many more opportunities for change.

"Much work remains to be done to reduce the availability of unhealthy beverages in elementary schools in the United States, and we encourage policy makers, school officials and parents to work together to address this important issue."

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