Do School Bans of Sugary Drinks Really Work?

    Recent research has shown that banning sugar-laden drinks from school cafeterias does not necessarily decrease young Americans’ consumption of these beverages. Some school districts have bans on selling sugary drinks in cafeterias, but removing those drinks from vending machines can be complicated due to the revenues that schools earn from such machines. And while some state policies ban students from purchasing soda with lunch voucher money, many students can still purchase soda from school stores.

    Some statistics estimate that the average American teenager consumer up to 15% of his or her daily caloric intake from sodas and drinks sweetened with sugar or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). These useless calories provide no nutritional benefit and are often accompanied by high levels of caffeine.

    It seems that simply banning soda from schools cannot be a wholly successful endeavor without also involving parents, teachers, local businesses, health care professionals, and others who have a vested interest in the health of children. Helping youngsters to learn and understand the health effects of sugar and the need for more balance in this regard is a multifaceted issue, and simple legislation and administrative enforcement is only one solution among many.

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