To a lot of economists this substitution into more sugary drinks outside of school isn't too surprising. The journal article is entitled: "Reduced Availability of Sugar-sweetened Beverages and Diet Soda Has a Limited Impact on Beverage Consumption Patterns in Maine High School Youth."
Policies that rid Maine high schools of sugary drinks seem to have had little impact on teenagers' overall intake of sugar-laden beverages, according to a new study. . . .
Another study looked at the same experiment for junk food.
Blum's team surveyed 235 students about their daily intake of sugary drinks at two time points: the spring before the school policies took hold and nine months after they went into effect. The researchers gave the same survey to 221 students at high schools that kept selling soda and other sugar-added drinks.
On average, the study found, students at both groups of schools curbed their intake of sugary beverages to a similar degree over the school year.
According to Blum, keeping such drinks out of teenagers' reach during school hours may not be enough.
"School appears to be just one source of sugar-sweetened beverages for youth," she said, "and it may be that an educational component...is needed to have an effect on consumption from sources other than school."
It's not that middle schoolers aren't eating junk food; indeed they are, just like most Americans. It's that most of the junk food they're eating is not coming through the schools. "Schools only represent a small portion of children’s food environment," said Jennifer Van Hook, a Professor of Sociology and Demography at Pennsylvania State University and lead author of the study.The same may not hold true for high school students, who are more independent and have more disposable income (and therefore more control over what they eat).
A copy of the study is available here.
"They can get food at home, they can get food in their neighborhoods, and they can go across the street from the school to buy food. Additionally, kids are actually very busy at school... There really isn't a lot of opportunity for children to eat while they're in school, or at least eat endlessly, compared to when they're at home. As a result, whether or not junk food is available to them at school may not have much bearing on how much junk food they eat," Van Hook said in a statement issued by the American Sociological Association. . . .
Labels: Economics, PeltzmanEffect