In this study, the first one to look at the effect of state policies on consumption of soda and other sugary drinks, the authors queried almost 7,000 students in 40 states when they were in 5th grade and then in 8th grade about their beverage consumption.
About two-thirds of 8th graders reported buying sugar-sweetened beverages (like fruit juice), whether the state had laws banning soda or no laws at all.
And regardless of whether the state had anti-soda laws, 85 percent of students said they'd had a sugar-sweetened beverage at least once in the past week, with one-quarter to one-third enjoying these drinks daily.
"Laws that focus just on sodas are no better than allowing all sweetened beverages. They didn't reduce much of anything," said Taber. "School laws can help but they can't do it on their own. There may be helpful laws in other sectors."
"This isn't surprising because one thing that's not really well appreciated is that the taste for sweetness is something we're born with. People like sweet things, so just making them unavailable in one source is not likely to address something we really like that's available in many other places," said Kavey, who was not involved with the study.
Kavey thinks combining laws with educational campaigns "so kids know why [drinks are] not there anymore" might advance the cause.
Other measures that have been considered to reduce sugary-drink consumption include taxes on these items or restrictions on marketing directed at children.
Susan K. Neely, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association, responded to the study results in a statement.
"By looking at data from 2004 and 2007, this study ignores the dramatic changes in the school beverage landscape achieved by our industry over the last five years, making it effectively useless," Neely said.
"In fact, by offering only juice, low-fat milk and water in elementary
All rights reserved