Are 'Competitive Foods' Sold at School Making Our Children Fat?

Year in Research Nominee for 2010

Almost one-third of American children and adolescents are now either overweight or obese. One contributing factor may be the foods and beverages sold outside of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) school meal programs, which are often called "competitive foods." These foods, such as cookies, chips and sodas, are often available through vending machines, snack bars and other outlets on school premises. They are not required to conform to the nutritional standards of the USDA school meal programs.

This paper looks at the research into whether these competitive foods may be affecting students’ dietary intake or contributing to their risk of obesity.