School vending machines might be offering more calories and fat to students than they actually need, a new study by Temple University researchers has found.
The recent figures from the HEALTHY Study shows that vending machines beverages had added sugars, high calorie 100 percent fruit juices, and snacks with over 200 calories.
"Contrary to common belief, fruit juice is not a healthy snack, if drunk in excess. It should be limited to about 6 ounces per day, but it's common to see more than one serving in a bottle," said Amy Virus, RD, LDN, senior health services coordinator for the HEALTHY Study from the Centre for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University.
"Changes made to the vending machines in schools will help reduce excess calories taken in by school kids," she added.
The study conducted over 42 schools from seven cities showed that 75 percent of them had vending machines, 83 per cent of which sold beverages and 17 percent snack foods only.
The most prevalent beverages available in vending machines had 39 percent added sugar beverages, and 23 percent '100 percent fruit juice'.
The most prevalent snacks available were 22 percent reduced fat chips, 16 percent regular baked goods, 14 percent cereal bars and 14 percent low fat ice cream. The nutritional content was also collected for all of the items.
Furthermore, the energy content of beverages ranged from zero calories for water and 325 calories for added sugar drinks, and snacks were between 25 calories for low fat ice cream item to 480 calories for baked goods.
"The program's goal is to ultimately remove all juice and sugar added beverages, offer water instead and eliminate candy from vending machines," said Virus, who is also president of the Pennsylvania Dietetic Association.