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School Soda Ban Has Limited Effect

Eliminating sugary beverages did not affect overall consumption, study finds

THURSDAY, Nov. 27 (HealthDay News) -- A new study suggests that cutting sodas and other sugar-sweetened drinks from school cafeteria menus will have little effect on teens' overall consumption of the beverages.

Because these drinks are believed to be a major contributor to increasing rates of childhood obesity in the United States, many schools across the nation are banning them or curbing their availability to students. To assess the impact of this strategy, researchers followed 456 students at seven schools in southern and central Maine over two school years. Four of the schools reduced the availability of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) for one school year (intervention schools), while the other three took no action (control schools).

The researchers found that consumption of the beverages decreased among all the students, regardless of whether they went to an intervention or control school. The findings were published in the November/December issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

"This study suggests that successful reduction of the availability of SSB can occur in public high schools. However, these data suggest the effect of reduced availability of school SSB on consumption of SSB by high school students may be limited," wrote researcher Janet E. Whatley Blum.

"A better understanding of beverage consumption patterns may be needed to determine the efficacy of school food policies on those youth susceptible to obesity," she added.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about teens and healthy weight.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, news release, Nov. 10, 2008

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