Most Arkansas Schools Continuing Ban On Vending Machine Junk Food

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A new report says that 61 percent of Arkansas school districts ban junk food in school vending machines, up from just 18 percent in 2004.

But the evaluation, released today by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, also found that 19 percent of schools are ignoring state law and allowing students access to vending machines during the lunch period.

The state in 2003 began measuring students' body mass indices annually, and set new tuition and physical activity standards as part of a law, Act 1220.

The evaluation also found that more parents are promoting a healthy atmosphere at home.  The report found that 83 percent of families reported limiting family consumption of sweets, chips and soda, compared with 76 percent in 2004.

Legislators relaxed the BMI standards last year.  Pupils now are measured in kindergarten and in even-numbered grades, with high school juniors and seniors exempt.  The BMI statistics are released in the fall.

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