BACKGROUND: Promising school policies to improve children's diets include providing fresh fruits and vegetables (F&V) and competitive food restrictions on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), yet the impact of national implementation of these policies in US schools on cardiometabolic disease (CMD) risk factors and outcomes is not known. Our objective was to estimate the impact of national implementation of F&V provision and SSB restriction in US elementary, middle, and high schools on dietary intake and body mass index (BMI) in children and future CMD mortality.
METHODS: We used comparative risk assessment (CRA) frameworks to model the impacts of these policies with input parameters from nationally representative surveys, randomized-controlled trials, and systematic reviews and meta-analyses. For children ages 5-18 years, this incorporated national data on current dietary intakes and BMI, impacts of these policies on diet, and estimated effects of dietary changes on BMI. In adults ages 25 and older, we further incorporated the sustainability of dietary changes to adulthood, effects of dietary changes on CMD, and national CMD death statistics, modeling effects if these policies had been in place when current US adults were children. Uncertainty across inputs was incorporated using 1000 Monte Carlo simulations.
RESULTS: National F&V provision would increase daily fruit intake in children by as much as 25.0% (95% uncertainty interval (UI): 15.4, 37.7%), and would have small effects on vegetable intake. SSB restriction would decrease daily SSB intake by as much as 26.5% (95% UI: 6.4, 46.4%), and reduce BMI by as much as 0.7% (95% UI: 0.2, 1.2%). If F&V provision and SSB restriction were nationally implemented, an estimated 22,383 CMD deaths/year (95% UI: 18735, 25930) would be averted.
CONCLUSION: National school F&V provision and SSB restriction policies implemented in elementary, middle, and high schools could improve diet and BMI in children and reduce CMD mortality later in life.
- SUGAR-SWEETENED BEVERAGES
- VEGETABLE INTAKE