What Happens When You Remove Soda From School Vending Machines?
In the past, we've talked about how schools across the country will be banning junk food this year. But what actually happens when you remove snacks and soda from a school setting? A recent study from the University of Illinois at Chicago found that taking soda away from school vending machines can actually have an adverse effect. Even though it's an action intended to make students healthier, it is not enough of an impactful change, the research found.
Interestingly enough, students who did not have access to buy soda at school were more likely to drink at least one soda per day. The study found that 23 percent of teens drank at least one soda per day if they had access to vending machines during the school day, compared to 28 percent who didn't have access. Showing a similar effect, students were more likely to eat fast food when vending machines were removed from schools.
The study's lead author, Daniel Taber, explains,
There may be unintended effects if you only make small-scale changes. When more comprehensive changes were implemented, there were no unintended effects.
So what would make a difference? According to the researchers, more long-term changes, like strengthening school meal standards, can have positive effects and create an overall healthier environment.
It makes sense that if one thing is banned in school, it could make it more appealing and the students more likely to want it. For example, being told all day that you can't drink soda at school makes you just want to drink one as soon as you get home, right? While we know that sugary beverages are anything but healthy, banning that one item may not be enough, as this study proves.
Hopefully this study will be an eye-opener for schools across the country, who are working toward implementing healthier meal plans. We're big supporters of that effort!