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Banning sugary drinks in schools has little impact: study

(Relaxnews) – Banning sugary drinks in schools is an ineffective attempt at curbing obesity in kids, suggests a new study which found that state policies in the US did little to reduce the overall consumption of soda pop and sports drinks in kids.

The study, published this week in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, analyzed the habits of 5th grade and 8th grade students in 40 schools across the US, and found that regardless of the school policy on soda pop, students reported they were drinking about the same amount — at least one sugar-sweetened drink a week.

New research suggests that banning sugary drinks in schools doesn't reduce overall consumption among kids. ©travis manley/shutterstock.com

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago studied a cross-section of schools with different soda pop policies: those that banned only fizzy drinks; schools that banned all sugar-sweetened drinks, and schools with no beverage policy at all.

While bans may reduce in-school access, the latest study suggests kids are actively finding other ways to access sugary drinks.

The results of the survey also suggest that schools and public health authorities need to develop more comprehensive anti-obesity strategies that go beyond simply imposing a blanket ban on soda.

Meanwhile, France, Hungary and Denmark recently voted to impose a tax on junk food and sugary drinks this year.

And British food crusader Jamie Oliver embarked on a high-profile vocal campaign in Los Angeles, where he waged war against chocolate and strawberry-flavored milk products in schools.

Oliver struggled to garner support for his campaign when he first landed in LA, receiving a tepid welcome at best in a city where celebrities are a dime a dozen.

But in spite of resistance from the school board and indignant parents, members of the Los Angeles Unified School District voted to eliminate chocolate and strawberry-flavored milk from schools this summer. The campaign was captured in his ABC TV series, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.

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