Fewer Students Buy Soda but High Sugar Drinks Still Available on Campus
Half as many adolescents as in 2006 can still buy high-calorie sodas in schools, but other sugary beverages remain easily available onsite, a survey showed.
University of Michigan Ann Arbor researchers found the trend in a survey of more than 1,900 public schools, which has grown as the institutions banish sodas from vending machines, school stores and cafeterias.
Older students who could buy soda in high school fell to 25 percent in 2011 from 54 percent in 2006, while access by younger middle school students fell to 13 percent from 27 percent, according to the study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
But fruit drinks, sports drinks and other beverages with added sugar and calories that could lead to obesity over time can still be bought easily in schools, the study showed.
Another study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine last month found one-third of younger students at U.S. elementary schools could still buy sugary drinks, University of Illinois at Chicago researchers said.
Children's access to soda is a major concern among public health experts who point to all sugar-sweetened beverages as a key source of excess calories that can cause childhood obesity. Such drinks should be banned in schools in favor of water, low- or no-fat milk and 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices with no added sugar, they say.