Snacks, sweetened beverages, added sugars, and schools

Robert Murray, Jatinder J.S. Bhatia, Jeffrey Okamoto, Mandy Allison, Richard Ancona, Elliott Attisha, Cheryl De Pinto, Breena Holmes, Chris Kjolhede, Marc Lerner, Mark Minier, Adrienne Weiss-Harrison, Thomas Young, Cynthia Devore, Stephen Barnett, Linda Grant, Veda Johnson, Elizabeth Mattey, Mary Vernon-Smiley, Carolyn DuffMadra Guinn-Jones, Stephen R. Daniels, Steven A. Abrams, Mark R. Corkins, Sarah D. De Ferranti, Neville H. Golden, Sheela N. Magge, Sarah Jane Schwarzenberg, Jatinder J.S. Bhatia, Jeff Critch, Laurence Grummer-Strawn, Rear Admiral Rear, Benson M. Silverman, Valery Soto, Debra L. Burrowes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Concern over childhood obesity has generated a decade-long reformation of school nutrition policies. Food is available in school in 3 venues: federally sponsored school meal programs; items sold in competition to school meals, such as a la carte, vending machines, and school stores; and foods available in myriad informal settings, including packed meals and snacks, bake sales, fundraisers, sports booster sales, in-class parties, or other school celebrations. High-energy, low-nutrient beverages, in particular, contribute substantial calories, but little nutrient content, to a student's diet. In 2004, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that sweetened drinks be replaced in school by water, white and flavored milks, or 100% fruit and vegetable beverages. Since then, school nutrition has undergone a significant transformation. Federal, state, and local regulations and policies, along with alternative products developed by industry, have helped decrease the availability of nutrient-poor foods and beverages in school. However, regular access to foods of high energy and low quality remains a school issue, much of it attributable to students, parents, and staff. Pediatricians, aligning with experts on child nutrition, are in a position to offer a perspective promoting nutrient-rich foods within calorie guidelines to improve those foods brought into or sold in schools. A positive emphasis on nutritional value, variety, appropriate portion, and encouragement for a steady improvement in quality will be a more effective approach for improving nutrition and health than simply advocating for the elimination of added sugars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)575-583
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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