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Health & Parenting

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Sodas Skip Schools

Soft-Drink Makers Join Child Obesity Fight, Won't Sell Sugary Soda in Schools

Environmental Change for Kids continued...

"This can really make a difference in the health of our kids," Eckel said. "The bottom line is kids need to consume fewer calories and burn more. When they consume sugared beverages, they consume hundreds of calories. This is just one step -- but we think it will make a tremendous impact on the calorie-in/calorie-out equation. These changes, along with increasing physical activity, providing better nutritionnutrition education, and establishing staff wellness programs, will help students establish healthy habits that will last a lifetime."

The top executives of Cadbury Schweppes, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and the American Beverage Association also spoke at the news conference. They expressed pride in their companies' products but stressed their concern that children must learn how integrate these beverages into a healthy lifestyle.

"If we can help our children learn the right balance between consuming calories and burning calories, we will give them the tools to lead healthy lives," Susan Neely, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association, said at the news conference. "The school beverage policy contributes to giving our children these skills, particularly when coupled with greater physical education and physical activity. Children need to learn both parts of the equation in order to fully succeed in a healthy life."

The nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, which has been highly critical of the soft drink industry, announced plans to drop a lawsuit against Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Cadbury Schweppes, and their bottlers following today's announcement.

New Beverage Guidelines for Schools

Here's the contract the beverage industry has agreed to make with school districts. Milk, as defined in the contract, includes "nutritionally equivalent milk alternatives" such as soy milk. All 100% juices must contain the minimum daily requirement of at least three vitamins or minerals. For example, orange juice would qualify. Apple juice might not.

Elementary schools will allow only:

  • Bottled water
  • Up to 8-ounce servings of milk and 100% juice
  • Low-fat and nonfat regular and flavored milk with up to 150 calories per 8 ounces
  • 100% juice with no added sweeteners and up to 120 calories per 8 ounces

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