The State Board of Education voted 4-3 on Wednesday to end Colorado’s seven-year ban on diet sodas in the state’s public high schools, leaving it up to local school districts to implement their own restrictions on junk food and soft drinks.
The majority agreed with school officials who said that adhering to both Colorado’s Healthy Beverage Policy, implemented in 2009, and new federal Smart Snacks in Schools standards were too burdensome.
The state’s policy details the type, size and calorie count of beverages allowed in schools outside of the federal school meal program. Critics say the fed’s Smart Snacks isn’t restrictive enough and aligning with it would make unhealthy snacks more readily available for students.
Board member Joyce Rankin said that even with Colorado’s restrictive soda policies, kids are still accessing sodas with ease.
“It (the current state policy) started out with very good intentions but the obesity rates of our children are still through the roof,” Rankin said.