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Pac Health Dialog. 2014 Mar;20(1):17-21.

The case to ban sugary food and drink from schools: these products are addictive, and kids will learn best without them.


In New Zealand, schools have been a battleground as a setting to address the obesity epidemic, with successive governments enforcing, and then repealing laws to ban junk food from canteen menus. Just what is considered 'junk food' remains controversial, but recently sugar sweetened beverages have become a target of public health groups. The adverse health consequences of their intake have been the principal arguments to reduce their availability. Here, we argue that the advantages of reducing intake of sugar in schools are very likely to lead to educational and other social benefits. Indices of sugar intake have been associated with aggressive behaviour, attention deficit, dysphoria and suicidal thoughts in cross-sectional studies. Longitudinal studies have also linked soft drink intake with impaired cognitive development. We believe that banning sugary drinks from schools will assist teachers and students to better achieve their learning goals, with a side effect of improving their health status.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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