November 25, 2011
Some school districts across the country have been trying to curb consumption of soda and other sugary beverages among their students by banning access to these products on school property. But a new study out of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) suggests that these efforts might be largely fruitless because children, who attend soda-free schools, end up consuming the same amount of soda elsewhere.
Daniel Taber and his colleagues at UIC surveyed 6,900 fifth- and eighth-grade public school students from 40 different states. Some of the children attended schools that had a full ban on soda, while others attended schools where it was permitted. The research team found that, regardless of the type of school, students generally drank the same amount of soda.
Published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, the study revealed that 85 percent of all eighth graders, regardless of whether or not they attended a soda-free school, drank a sugary drink at least once per week. And as many as 33 percent from both groups said they drank soda or other refined sugar-laden beverages every day.
“Home consumption is still the majority of children’s and adolescents’ intake,” said Dr. Y. Claire Wang, a researcher at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York who was not involved in the study, to Reuters Health. Dr. Wang has been studying sugary drink consumption patterns among children. “Although school ground has always been the policy target… it is harder for the home environment to be addressed.”
In other words, schools can limit access to sugary drinks all they want — but if parents continue to purchase these health-destroying products and feed them to their children, the benefits become a wash. So further educating the public about the health dangers of consuming high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), for instance, will be necessary to promote a fundamental change in the way parents think about nutrition (http://www.naturalnews.com/hfcs.html).
“Kids drink a lot of these empty calories, and they do so without reducing other intake,” added Dr. Wang concerning the role of soda and other junk food in promoting childhood obesity. “The consumption of sugary drinks is one of the driving forces of excess intake in kids in America.”
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