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

40 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

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