A Pennsylvania study concludes that commercial activity in schools may discourage a "nutritionfriendly" environment for students. The study, "Existence and Predictors of Soft Drink Advertisements in Pennsylvania High Schools," was published in the December 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association and devices from a survey of 271 school foodservice directors at high schools in Pennsylvania.
The researchers say they received 84 percent participation and that the schools were representative of the entire population of high schools in the state. Among the commercial activities cited by the study as compromising nutrition education efforts are soft drink ads, the use of Channel One broadcasts in classrooms, sales incentives from soft drink bottlers and exclusive beverage contracts.
Among the findings: approximately two-thirds of the respondents said their schools had at least one soft drink advertisement, most at vending machines, but more than 10 percent said the ads were also displayed in the cafeteria. The extent of soft drink ads appears to be linked to lower average daily participation in the school lunch program, the researchers wrote.