Eliminating the sale of sugary drinks in schools leads to a decrease in consumption of the drinks overall, according to new research from the University of Waterloo.

The Waterloo study, which appears in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour, found that students in Alberta had a 16 per cent higher rate of drinking sugar-sweetened beverages than their peers in Ontario.

Ontario has banned the sale of sugar-sweetened drinks in high schools since 2011. Alberta has no similar regulations. Studies have linked the beverages to increased rates of obesity and cardiovascular disease.

The researchers behind the Waterloo study say their findings show that restricting the ability of young people to acquire unhealthy foods can lead to them making healthier decisions.

The study also found that school is only a small factor in students’ intake of sugary beverages.