October 6, 2009

Fewer Schools Are Selling Junk Food To Students

A new federal government report released on Monday said fewer U.S. high schools and middle schools are selling candy and salty snacks to students, The Associated Press reported.

The report, based on a survey of public schools in 34 states that compared results from 2006 to 2008, did not report the total number of schools that have changed, but it looked at the proportion of schools in each state, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It showed a 54 percent to 36 percent drop in the median proportion of high schools and middle schools that sell the sugary or salty snacks.

It also found that the share of schools that sell soda and artificial fruit drinks dropped from 62 percent to 37 percent.

Some Southern states showed the most dramatic improvements. The proportion of schools selling soda in Mississippi dropped from 78 percent to 25 percent. In Tennessee, it dropped from 73 percent to 26 percent.

Meanwhile, both states also saw dramatic reductions in sales of candy and salty snacks.

Health officials are continuing efforts to combat childhood obesity.

Howell Wechsler, director of CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health, said efforts to improve the school nutrition environment are working and Mississippi and Tennessee are excellent examples of this progress.

Officials at the American Heart Association attributed the progress to aggressive legislation and school policy changes in some states that they hope will get children and teens accustomed to healthier eating habits.

Dr. Clyde Yancy, the association's president, said what kids do in school in large measure dictates what they do away from school.


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