U.S. schools throwing the book at unhealthy drinks

A great move by US schools to reduce the exposure of kids to sugary drinks -

Just one-third of students in U.S. elementary schools had access to sugary drinks and high-fat milk in 2010-2011, compared to 47 percent in 2007-2008, the report indicated. And less than 12 percent could obtain sugar-sweetened drinks at school last year.

“We are seeing some really encouraging changes in the school environment,” said study co-author Lindsey Turner, research scientist at the Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago.

“They are removing sugary beverages and high-fat milk,” she said. However, “there is still progress to be made.”

The report is published in the July issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

The researchers surveyed schools using criteria developed by the Institute of Medicine, an independent organization that advises decision makers. It recommends that beverages offered at schools — through snack bars, vending machines or a la carte lunch lines — be limited to water, 100 percent juice and nonfat or 1 percent milk.

It’s hoped that restricting high-calorie beverages will help curb the nation’s obesity epidemic. In 1980, 7 percent of U.S. children aged 6 to 11 were obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2008, nearly 20 percent — or one in five kids — were obese.

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