Children and adolescents consume a high proportion of their daily calories at school, which means it is important to consider the types of foods and drinks available in schools, along with the impact those items can have on students’ diets and weight.
Latino students are widely exposed to snacks and drinks sold in school à la carte lines, vending machines, stores, snack bars, and other venues. These items are sometimes called competitive foods because they are sold in competition with the reimbursable school meal. These snacks and drinks are often are high in fat, calories, sugar and/or salt, and offer little nutritional value.
Access to snack foods and beverages in schools has a disproportionately negative health influence among Latino students, and schools with a higher proportion of Latino students tend to have weaker policies regarding access to these items.
Latinos are projected to comprise 35 percent of the U.S. youth population by 2050. Implementing and enforcing stronger nutrition standards for snacks and drinks sold in school can help ensure students have healthier choices at school and may help this growing population maintain a healthy weight.