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Children's Health

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Schools Cut Back on Unhealthy Food

CDC Sees Improvement in Reducing Sale of Candy and Soda to Students
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Oct. 5, 2009 -- U.S. schools have cut back on certain "less nutritious" foods and drinks, and Mississippi and Tennessee are leading the way, the CDC reports.

The CDC today released new survey data on the percentage of students in public secondary schools who cannot buy candy, salty snacks, fruit drinks that aren't 100% juice, sports drinks, and soda at school.

The percentage of students who couldn't buy candy or salty snacks increased in 37 of the 40 states that participated in the survey.

When the survey started in 2002, about 46% of the students couldn't buy those items at school. That percentage had grown to 64% in 2008.

The percentage of secondary school students who couldn't buy soft drinks at school rose in all 34 states that tracked that from 2006 to 2008. And 23 of those same states also nixed sales of sports drinks to students during that time.

The CDC calls that "progress," and notes that some states made more progress than others.

Mississippi and Tennessee -- home to some of the nation's highest rates of adult obesity -- made the biggest gains in the percentage of secondary school students who can't buy candy, salty snacks, and soft drinks at school.

Utah ranked lowest on the percentage of students who can't buy candy or salty snacks at school. But that ranking doesn't reflect Utah's revisions to its school nutrition standards in 2008.

The findings appear in an "early release" edition of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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