Fewer school districts promoting junk food, soda

Government survey found 44 percent of school districts banned junk food from vending machines last year
Associated Press
Aug 27, 2013


There's been a big shift in how many school districts take money from soda companies and ban junk food from vending machines, health officials say.

A government survey found 44 percent of school districts banned junk food from vending machines last year, up from 30 percent in 2006.

It also found drops in how many districts took a cut of soft drink sales, received donations from soda companies, or allowed soda company advertising.

Those are considered positive steps in helping the nation reduce the number of children who are overweight and obese.

But it's not clear to how much impact the changes are having. The overall proportion of U.S. children who are overweight or obese has been holding steady at around 17 percent, according to government statistics.

Experts say that diet and exercise at home are at least as important as what kids are exposed to in school.

"There are lots and lots of factors that go into obesity rates," said Nancy Brener, lead author of the government report on the study. She is a health scientist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The findings come from a detailed government survey last year of more than 800 U.S. school districts. The CDC does the study every six years.

The CDC released the latest findings Monday. It found:

—The percentage of school districts that received a percentage of soft drink sales receipts fell from 82 percent in 2006 to 69 percent in 2012.

—The proportion that allowed soda companies to advertise soft drinks on school grounds — through posters, scoreboard placards or other ways — dropped from 47 percent to about 34 percent.

—The amount that received cash awards, equipment donations or other incentives from soda companies fell from 52 percent to 34 percent.

—The percentage that required physical education class in elementary schools stayed flat, at about 94 percent.

That's pretty high, so it's not surprising there wasn't much change there, Brener said.

She noted that the study measured school district policies, which is different than asking what was actually going on at individual schools. Sometimes there's a difference, but CDC doesn't have information on how often that happens.




Great, take out the junk food vending machines and add condom machines. That works for me.


I pack snacks in my kids bags (my daughter especially). They eat breakfast so early, lunch is a couple hours later, then nothing till they get home after school. The lunch they DO serve is so SHORT on calories due to restrictions from the USDA and food police the kids do not get enough to eat, especially the athletes. I pack granola bars, dried fruit, peanut butter/crackers, juice, and other healthy snacks. Her doctors, the school nurse and I keep a close eye on her diet and health. It is a parents responsibility to take care of their child....NOT the school or the VENDING MACHINE. Why not fill the vending the machine with healthier snacks? Is that not an option?


School lunches are not short on calories. School lunches are not meant to provide fuel for after-school activities. Their purpose is to get them through the school day. And older kids, especially teenage boys who may need more, can buy extra.
Schools have no business serving junk. They should serve a balanced, nutritional meal. It benefits everyone. It's not about being the food police. It's about common sense.


Well we had kids that were passing out and ending up in the nurses station from LACK OF FOOD....low blood sugar, BEFORE the end of the day. YES it was from lunch being served too early in the day and LACK OF CALORIES and no sustaining them till the end of the day. It was not a balanced lunch it was lacking in protein and healthy fats. It did not benefit everyone.


You always make me laugh. So the lunches changed and kids started passing out from a lack of calories? Where did this happen? I kind of think you are exaggerating. Look, there's no one school lunch that is the right amount of food for every kid. I have two healthy, fit kids. One requires very little food, the other requires a lot. The lunch is what it is, and shouldn't be catered to the person who needs the most. If it doesn't work for you, pack a lunch and pack snacks.

Stop It

A teenager in sports cannot eat enough. I know because I was one. My son was the same way. Taste doesn't matter. Gimme the BIG spoon and fill the plate/bowl.


Stop it, that is not necessarily true. Not everyone's body is the same. I also had an athlete for a child--very strong and aerobically fit, but never thin and always had difficulty losing weight, even when doing two sports at once, one being swimming. Regardless, athletes should still be eating healthy, not eating junk and drinking pop everyday. In fact, many coaches tell their athletes that they aren't supposed to drink pop during the season.

Stop It

We didn't have vending machines when I went to school. Two-a-day-conditioning for football cost my mom a real big chunk of money in food and drink. She liked wrestling and track better. You had to lose weight to perform.


It is not about drinking pop or eating junk. But when the school LUNCH is being served at 10:10 AM and the portions are not enough to keep a 95# GIRL full until 2 in the afternoon something is missing. You need PROTIEN and healthy fats/fiber. Tomatoes/peppers in a bowl with nothing on them as a portion of veggies fed to high school students is NOT going to sustain ANYONE....I do not care how healthy, fit active, strong, aerobic you are. That is NOT healthy for anyone! The lunch people tell the kids they are REQUIRED To take it, but they do not care what you do with it....eat it, trade it, throw it away, they do NOT care after you leave the line. My kids do NOT drink pop, they prefer milk, Gatorade, natural juices, and water. No it is not about drinking pop. It is about having enough HEALHTY options to keep kids FULL and healthy throughout the WHOLE day.

The Bizness

Maybe your daughter isn't eating?

I have seen many of what the local schools serve for lunch and they can easily be more than 600 calories per serving. If your child wants more to eat, give them extra money for more food.


That is the point. It is not just my daughter. There are many kids. Football players, Cross Country runners. Heck the nerds that do NOTHING. The portion size. The food they serve. It tastes like cardboard. Noone likes it, and most of it is thrown out. There is a story just today about schools OPTING Out of the new healthy food program because kids won't eat it and they are losing money.....http://news.yahoo.com/school-dis....


I agree that 10:10 is way too early for lunch for kids in school. However, no one is going to pass out from low blood sugar in 4 hours if they ate a balanced meal at lunch. All school lunches have protein. And no lunch served by a school consists only of tomatoes and peppers in a bowl with nothing on them. That is part of the lunch, and there is salad dressing available for dipping.
Your daughter probably isn't eating her entire lunch.


pepsi and lucky strikes got me through the day when I was in school..


We also had greasy pizza and soy/hamburgers!!!!


yeah, I remember.. I think my cigs were less harmful than school food that I remember.

Licorice Schtick

One-size-fits-all doesn't work very well. Some kids are getting too much food, others aren't getting enough. The worst cases on both ends of the scale are abuse.


The schools have to do better than 44 percent. With Obama Care on our door step a different awareness in health is upon us so as not to drain the health care system shelling out for medical costs.


School lunches have never been healthy. But meals served at home used to be. Now we have a fast food nation, and the government is trying to make up for it by serving healthy foods the kids aren't used to, and won't eat. I am torn about all this. The gov't can't influence what you eat at home, but it can influence what you eat at school. Obviously we've got some real issues here in the US of A with our eating habits. Maybe this is a good start.


Keep eating processed foods high in sugar and carbs and watch heart disease skyrocket even more. THIS is why heart disease is climbing at an every increasing rate.