CAM PoliticsChildrenE. DIETARY

Failed policy: Banning sugar-sweetened drinks in schools

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago determined the effect of state policies that regulate beverages among adolescents.

First, the details.

  • Students in 5th and 8th grades were studied.
  • In-school sugar-sweetened beverages access, in-school purchasing behavior, and consumption (in and out of school) in 8th grade were recorded.

And, the results.

  • In states that banned soda…
    • The proportions of 8th-grade students that reported in-school sugar-sweetened beverages access and purchasing were similar (67% and 29%, respectively) to with no beverage policy (67% and 26%, respectively).
  • In states that banned all sugar-sweetened beverages…
    • Fewer students reported in-school sugar-sweetened beverages access or purchasing after adjusting for potentially confounding factors.
  • Results were similar among students who reported access to or purchasing of sugar-sweetened beverages in 5th grade vs those who did not.
  • Overall sugar-sweetened beverages consumption was not associated with state policy.
    • In each policy category, approximately 85% of students reported consuming sugar-sweetened beverages at least once in the past 7 days.
  • Supplementary analyses indicated that overall consumption had only a modest association with in-school sugar-sweetened beverage access.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “State policies that ban all sugar-sweetened beverages in middle schools appear to reduce in-school access and purchasing of sugar-sweetened beverages but do not reduce overall consumption.”

Why do we continue to allow politicians to institute policies without pre-testing whether they will accomplish their stated goals?

11/8/11 19:10 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.