Your Kids Are Still Getting Too Much Sugar

Grade-school children can buy high-calorie sodas.

Your Kids Are Still Getting Too Much Sugar

Grade-school children can buy high-calorie sodas.

-Jane Farrell

A little boy

Despite nationwide efforts to teach kids healthy eating habits, grade schools are still selling too many sodas and other sugary or high-fat drinks, according to a new study.

Guidelines developed by the oversight agency Institute of Medicine call for schools to sell only bottled water, 100 percent juice drinks and milk with no more than 1% fat.

According to the research, published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, the highest availability rate of unhealthy drinks was in the South, the region with the nation’s highest child-obesity rate. In at least 20 percent of Southern schools, kids could buy the bad stuff either in vending machines, school shops or a la carte in the cafeteria. Availability rates in other regions were 14 percent in the Northeast and 9 percent in both the Midwest and the West.

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Although those might seem likely relatively low rates, according to the website Lindsey Turner of the Institute of Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois, Chicago, said, “What would really make a difference is removing the unhealthy beverages entirely.” Some schools, the study noted, had just added healthy drinks without getting rid of unhealthy ones. For example, in 2009 more than 35 percent of school kids can now buy full-fat milk at “competitive venues” like vending machines—a 6 percent rise since 2007.

Obesity in children has been linked to heart disease and diabetes, and has an effect on everything from health-care costs to the eventual inability of obese kids to have high-fitness jobs in places like the military. The U.S. has the second-highest rate of child obesity in the world, just behind Mexico.

According to a statement from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funded the study, there are legislative moves in Congress to strengthen nutrition guidelines and to grant the U.S. Department of Agriculture the power to apply nutrition standards to every school in the country. (medicalnewstoday)

 Jane Farrell is a senior editor at BettyConfidential.

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