Survey: Teens are ditching soda

Parents and health officials, rejoice! Washington teens are drinking fewer sugar-sweetened drinks.

The 2016 Washington Healthy Youth survey shows that teens are drinking considerably less soda and other sugary drinks now than they were a decade ago, the state Department of Health announced Wednesday.

The Healthy Youth Survey is voluntary and taken anonymously every two years by students in sixth, eighth, 10th and 12th grades across the state.

In 2006, 78 percent of 10th-graders and 76 percent of 12th-graders had drank sugar-sweetened beverages one or more times at school in the previous seven days. In the 2016 survey, those numbers were down to 42 percent and 44 percent, according to state health officials.

The sugar-sweetened beverage consumption percentages have been on the decline since 2006. But the biggest drop appeared in the 2014 Healthy Youth Survey.

Among high school seniors, sugary drink consumption dropped from 63 percent in 2012 to 44 percent in 2014.

One factor contributing to that decline, according to health officials, is the Smart Snacks in School Program, which required all foods sold at school during school hours to meet nutrition standards. So, goodbye, Coca-Cola, and hello, bottled water.

The program went into effect for the 2014-15 school year.

“We want our schools to be places where our kids thrive, and that includes providing them access to healthy, nourishing food and drinks. Programs such as the National School Lunch Program truly can make a difference in helping our kids feel ready to learn,” said Gov. Jay Inslee in a news release.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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