Unhealthy Snacks Continue to Be Sold in US Schools

September 1, 2008

Public secondary schools continue to offer snacks and beverages that compete with more healthy U.S. Department of Agriculture school meal program items, despite recommendations from the Institute of Medicine to restrict the availability of unhealthy competitive foods in schools, according to an article published in the Aug. 29 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

MONDAY, Sept. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Public secondary schools continue to offer snacks and beverages that compete with more healthy U.S. Department of Agriculture school meal program items, despite recommendations from the Institute of Medicine to restrict the availability of unhealthy competitive foods in schools, according to an article published in the Aug. 29 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Nancy Brener, Ph.D., of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion in Atlanta, analyzed data on 36 states and 12 large urban school districts from the 2006 School Health Profiles for public secondary schools in order to find out the types of competitive foods available in school canteens and from vending machines and school stores. The researchers also compared 2006 and 2004 data in 24 states and nine large urban school districts.

Although from 2004 to 2006 there was a decrease in the mean percentage of schools giving students access to chocolate candy and salty snacks that are not low fat, they still offered foodstuffs that compete with school meals and are less nutritious, the report indicates.

"School and public health officials should work together with families to provide foods and beverages at school that follow the Institute of Medicine recommendations," the authors write.

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