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District Policy With Support Ups Drink Quality in Schools

Of 115 schools in Boston, 89.6 percent met competitive beverage nutrition standards in 2013

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TUESDAY, March 8, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- A policy introducing nutrition standards for competitive beverages can improve the nutritional quality of beverages sold in schools, according to a study published online March 3 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Preventing Chronic Disease.

Rebecca S. Mozaffarian, M.P.H., from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues documented types of competitive beverages sold in 115 schools in 2013, nine years after introduction of district-wide nutrition standards for competitive beverages sold in Boston Public Schools. Nutrient data were collected to determine compliance with standards. The extent to which schools met the competitive beverage standards was examined.

The researchers found that 89.6 percent of schools met the competitive beverage nutrition standards. Overall, 88.5 and 61.5 percent of elementary and middle schools, respectively, did not sell competitive beverages. In 79.2 percent of high schools, nutrition standards were met; 37.5 and 41.7 percent did not sell any competitive beverages and sold only beverages that met the standards, respectively. Overall, 85.5 percent of students attended schools that met the standards, and access to sugar-sweetened beverages was observed for only 4.0 percent of students.

"A comprehensive, district-wide competitive beverage policy with implementation support can translate into a sustained healthful environment in public schools," the authors write.

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