School bans on sugar-sweetened drinks mean one less place kids can buy soda or sports drinks -- but it doesn't put a dent the amount they consume, a new study reports in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
Sugary beverages are blamed, in part, for the rise in childhood obesity rates.
"I wouldn't see this as a failure; it's just that it's not going to be enough to reduce sweetened beverage consumption, and ultimately to reduce obesity," said Daniel Taber of the University of Illinois. He suggests "more comprehensive policy initiatives" such as increased taxes on the high-calorie drinks or restrictions on marketing to kids.
The study was based on a survey of 6,900 fifth- and eighth-grade public school students in 40 states. In schools with a full or limited ban (e.g., soda-only bans), students reported reduced access and purchasing of the drinks. But consumption didn't appear to be affected. About 85 percent of all eighth graders surveyed reported drinking a sugary beverage at least once in the past week. Up to one-third of them drank sugary drinks every day
-- no matter what their school policy on the drinks.
"Home consumption is still the majority of children's and adolescents'
intake," said Dr. Y. Claire Wang of Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health in New York.