Removing vending machines from schools may not help lower soda consumption

A new study finds little decline in kids' soda drinking when vending machines are taken out of schools.

CHICAGO—The researchers at the University of Illinois, Chicago, evaluated whether vending machines in schools affected the daily intake of soda and other unhealthy fast foods outside schools when combined with factors such as tax rates and soda bans in schools. They mainly focused on regular intake of fast food and soda. The finding was based on the evaluation of 8,245 high school students in 27 states.

They noticed that 23 percent of the students reported drinking at least one soda per day when they had access to vending machines in schools as compared to the 28 percent of students who lacked access to the machine.

The differences, however, were noticed only in states where tax on soda was less or students were able to buy soda from school cafeteria.

In this study, the researchers associated the data from the National Youth Physical Activity and Nutrition Study with state level data on soda taxes, restaurant taxes and law governing the sale of soda in schools in 2010.