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Ban on Sugary Drinks in Schools Doesn’t Reduce their Consumption, Study Finds

Posted on November 9, 2011

Photo by fimoculous.

A study published November 7 in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine reports that banning sales of sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda, fruit drinks, and sports drinks, in schools did not reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages overall. The researchers, from the University of Illinois at Chicago, followed 6900 public school students in states with varying in-school drink sale policies. The students were surveyed at two points, fifth grade and eighth grade, about access to sweetened drinks in school, purchases of sweetened drinks in school and overall sweetened-drink consumption.

The study found that states which ban sales of sugar-sweetened beverages in schools did not reduce overall sweetened-drink consumption among students. These findings indicate that bans on the sale of sweetened drinks in schools alone are not an effective measure for combating childhood obesity unless they are also combined with restrictions on sweetened drinks outside of school. Comprehensive bans, which allow milk, 100% juice and water, did not reduce overall consumption of sweetened beverages. However, researchers observed that they were effective in reducing in-school access to and purchasing of sweetened drinks.

A number of Schubert Center Faculty Associates are also conducting research related to childhood obesity. Dr. Elaine Borawski researches health behavior interventions for obesity. Dr. Leona Cuttler conducts research on obesity and diabetes in children. In May 2010, Dr. Marilyn Lotas presented her work on childhood hypertension, often associated with childhood obesity, at a Schubert Center talk. Download a policy brief from her talk. Dr. Ellen S. Rome studies eating disorders and obesity.

Read a ScienceDaily summary of the findings.

Read the study in Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.

Page last modified: March 13, 2014