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Junk Food Vending Machines A Big Moneymaker For Schools

If it's true soft drinks and junk food vending machines are beginning to disappear from our schools, it couldn't have happened soon enough, based on a CDC report released today.

Their sampling of middle schools and high schools in 27 states and 11 urban areas revealed some frightening numbers and major disparities.

By the numbers:

  • Almost half the state surveyed -- Oklahoma, Washington, Tennessee, South Carolina, New York, New Hampshire, Missouri, Minnesota, Michigan, Maine, Idaho, Arkansas and Utah -- all topped the 90 percent mark for schools selling food from vending machines or a snack bar.
  • Minnesota, Oklahoma and Utah led the list of schools selling candies in addition to chocolate.
  • Oklahoma sold less fruits and vegetables (18.5 percent) in schools than any other state surveyed.
  • Dallas, San Diego and Los Angeles led the list of cities with school districts selling the most junk food through vending machines.

The reason many schools continue to sell these harmful, non-nutritious foods, according to the CDC: Snacks, candy and soft drinks are a major income generator for districts needing the cash to pay for supplies, field trips and other activities.

The advice the CDC offered to stem the tide of obesity -- schools and parents working together to improve school nutrition -- makes sense, except that parents really can't depend on anyone other than themselves to safeguard the health of their kids.

And that can be problematic, based on a Harvard study that found large fast-food restaurant chains tend to cluster near schools in urban areas.

CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Vol. 54, No. 37, September 23, 2005 Free Full Text Report

Yahoo News September 22, 2005

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