Availability of Less Nutritious Snack Foods and Beverages in Secondary Schools

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U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed its School Health Profiles data for public secondary schools from 2002 to 2008 to determine the percentage of schools where students were not able to buy unhealthy foods and beverages. The analysis reflected an overall improvement of meal programs and healthy food choices in the participating states.

According to the report, 37 states out of 40 saw an increase in the percentage of schools where students cannot purchase snacks that are not low in fat. The same report shows that the percentage of schools where students did not have access to soft drinks or fruit drinks that are not 100 percent juice increased in 34 states from 2006 to 2008.

Although there was a general increase in percentages of schools where students were presented with fewer unhealthy food choices, there were wide ranges of these percentages. For example, the percentage range of schools in states where students were not able to buy sports drinks was between 22.7 percent and 84.8 percent, while the range for being unable to buy candy or salty snacks was 18.2 percent to 88.2 percent. Improvements differed among the states. In 2008, students in more than 80 percent of schools in Hawaii and Maine could not buy candy and salty snacks, while the estimate was only 18.2 percent in Utah.

The number of states that have nutrition standards for foods and beverages outside of meal programs has grown from six in 2004 to 27 in 2009. These data reflect only public secondary schools. Free. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm58e1005a1.htm.