Reducing or eliminating access to competitive foods on school campuses ensures that more nutritional school meals have a better chance of succeeding.
In May 2006 the Alliance for a Healthier Generation worked with representatives of The Coca–Cola Company, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Pepsi-Co, Inc., and the American Beverage Association to establish the Alliance School Beverage Guidelines to help students make healthier beverage choices in the school environment. In March of 2010 the Alliance released the final results of an independent third-party study to analyze the effect of the Alliance School Beverage Guidelines, which indicated an 88 percent reduction in calories from beverages available in schools. Even with this milestone reached, schools still face the challenge of regulating competitive foods and beverages—those items sold outside the USDA school meal programs—on school campuses. Aside from soft drinks, competitive foods include fast food and snack items available from vending machines.
Every school district must develop and implement a local school wellness policy as mandated by provisions of the 2004 Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization. When properly implemented, comprehensive wellness plans can help schools become models of healthy environments for children to learn and grow. By focusing on healthy, nutritional eating practices and physical activities schools can seize the opportunity to educate children about the life-long importance of nutrition and physical well-being.