Beverage Companies Make Sweet Deals With Schools
"It's not good nutrition for kids," continues Wechsler who points out that some studies have linked sugar to tooth decay.
In fact, some cities like Philadelphia, Sacramento, Calif., and Madison, Wisc., are now rejecting these "pouring rights" deals with bottlers. One industry source says that soft drink companies aren't all that thrilled with the school marketing deals, but they do them anyway in an effort to get a bigger share of the competitive beverage market.
In some communities, the school vending machines contain bottled water and juice in addition to soft drinks. "The decisions about soft drinks or beverages in schools are best left to local educators," says McBride.
There are, though, some interesting local experiments going on to encourage healthy food choices. One project undertaken by scientists at the University of Minnesota makes higher-nutrition options such as baby carrots and pretzels more attractive to kids by cutting the prices in half. According to Wechsler, sales have skyrocketed.