Utah schools lead nation in access to junk food
The AP (6/6) reports, "Utah schools give teens more access to unhealthy foods and drinks than anywhere else in the country," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which noted that "86 percent of Utah schools allow students to buy soda, compared to the national average of 63 percent." Additionally, "[e]ighty-three percent of Utah schools offered chocolate candy in 2006, compared to the national average of 40 percent." The AP explains, "Instead of ordering a ban, the state school board last year said schools could prohibit unhealthy food or drinks."
The Salt Lake Tribune (6/5) added that, overall, "Utah has the most schools that allow the sale of unhealthy foods and drinks during lunch -- 81 percent versus 35 percent for the national median." However, soft drink companies "have voluntarily agreed to remove sodas from elementary and middle schools and sell diet sodas in high schools" by the 2009-10 school year, and "the results also showed" that currently, "Utah schools do a better-than-average job of offering healthy drinks, such as low-fat milk and bottled water." But while state policy "encourages healthy environments" through guidelines, officials say that "few schools are willing to cut out junk completely, often citing the needed revenue."