School food policies related to the availability of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and other low-nutrient, energy-dense food items (LNEDs) have a substantial impact on the dietary intakes of U.S. schoolchildren. At the secondary school level, limiting the sales of competitive foods reduces consumption of SSBs.
Many schools use sales of competitive foods to generate revenue. However, the presence of competitive foods seems to have a detrimental effect on the school food environment. This report on the third School Nutrition Dietary Assessment Study (SNDA-III) examines associations of policy and dietary behavior. The research for this article pulled apart the school food environment into separate conceptual domains. The authors assigned scores to an extensive set of variables. These scores controlled for student exposure to various levels of influence within each domain.
The cross-sectional nature of the data limits the ability to assign causality.