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School Soda Bans Don't Keep Kids From Sugary Drinks
Date:11/8/2011

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Laws that specifically ban sugar-rich sodas in schools -- but not other high-calorie drinks -- do not reduce consumption of these obesity-generating beverages, a new study shows.

That's probably because, with sodas less available, kids just gravitate to sweetened fruit or sports-type drinks instead, the study authors found.

However, state policies that ban sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages do result in fewer purchases of high-calorie drinks at schools.

Unfortunately, those broader policies don't translate into fewer sales outside schools, according to the report published online Nov. 7 in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

"Laws were effective in improving the overall food environment but more laws may be necessary to reduce overall consumption," said study lead author Daniel Taber, a postdoctoral research associate at the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

U.S. children and teenagers drink an inordinate amount of sugary sodas whose excess calories can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, a risk factor for heart disease later in life.

According to background information in the study, soda contributed more calories than any other food or drink in teenagers aged 14 to 18 in 2005-2006.

A number of different organizations have favored regulations to help schools include healthy foods and phase out unhealthy foods and, in 2007, the Institute of Medicine specifically recommended that schools get rid of all sugar-sweetened drinks.

While many schools have instituted a ban, often it's on sodas only, not fruit juice or energy drinks, which also contribute sugar and calories.

"Fruit juice is just as bad in terms of calories," said Dr. Rae-Ellen Kavey, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Roch
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