Delegate Patrick Lane, R-Kanawha, questioned whether this was part of a trend to give away the Legislature's policy-making authority over public health issues. Lane, a lawyer, represents parents challenging the state's childhood vaccination mandate for public-school students, arguing that it goes beyond what lawmakers have approved.
"So, we would be abdicating whatever authority we have regarding sugar in the education realm to the state Board of Education," Lane said during Tuesday's meeting.
Lane also said he's read articles on research finding fruit juices with highly concentrated amount of sugar.
"They actually may have the same amount of calories and sugar as a can of pop, on an ounce-per-ounce basis," Lane said.
Goff said a panel that includes a pediatrician and a nutritionist developed the board's policy and guidelines based in the U.S. Institute of Medicine's standards for healthy beverages.
"There's no nutritional value in sodas, compared to fruit juices," Goff said.
Chocolate milk may be an issue, Goff said, but he added that it provides essential vitamins and minerals and is routinely chosen by at least some students over white milk.
A statewide screening program has recently found that childhood obesity rates are declining in West Virginia as schools focus on improving nutrition and increasing physical activity. Recently fired schools Superintendent Jorea Marple has been credited for pushing those initiatives during her tenure.