Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Font Size

Beverage Companies Make Sweet Deals With Schools

WebMD Health News

Oct. 19, 2000 (Washington) -- Vending machines filled with soft drinks are actually being welcomed into some American schools, but not without a food fight.

"The school districts' going into partnership with the soft drink companies makes no sense," Kelly Brownell, PhD, a professor of psychology, epidemiology, and public health at Yale University, tells WebMD. Brownell is studying such a relationship in Colorado Springs, Colo. Even though many public health officials are outraged by the trend, it's often less a matter of good nutrition than economic reality.

"There are not enough educational dollars to go around to give parents and communities the kind of well-rounded education that they want for their children," Sean McBride, spokesman for the National Soft Drink Association tells WebMD. McBride says there are probably some 200 schools out of 12,000 in the U.S. where educators have entered into these exclusive deals with bottlers.

In return for granting a soft drink monopoly, the school district can reap millions of dollars back in bonuses to support projects like buying computers or band uniforms. "They are a win for the beverage companies, and they are a win for the schools, the students, and the taxpayers," says McBride.

However, Margo Wootan, PhD, director of nutrition policy at the watchdog group Center for Science in the Public Interest thinks these contracts are a bad bargain. "School officials should not solve their funding problems at the expense of our children's health," Wootan tells WebMD.

She points out that soft drinks contain fattening sugar calories that displace other more wholesome items from the diet, like milk. "The soft drink industry saying that sodas don't contribute to obesity has about as much [credibility as] Philip Morris saying that tobacco doesn't cause cancer," says Wootan.

"Those kind of comments are outrageous, and they're entirely out of bounds," says McBride.

The National Soft Drink Association counters by pointing out that two new studies, one from the Georgetown University Center for Food and Nutrition Policy, and the other from Michigan State University, show that soft drinks have no effect on obesity in children and that kids' milk consumption hasn't declined in the last decade.

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
mother and daughter talking
child brushing his teeth
Sipping hot tea
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
rl with friends
tissue box
Child with adhd