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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

New Beverage Guidelines for Schools continued...

Middle schools will allow the same things as elementary schools, but juice and milk may be sold in 10-ounce servings. If middle school and high school students share the same campus or the same buildings, the high-school standards will apply.

High schools will allow only:

  • Bottled water
  • No- or low-calorie beverages with up to 10 calories per 8 ounces
  • Up to 12-ounce servings of milk, 100% juice, light juice, and sports drinks
  • 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
  • Light juices and sports drinks with no more than 66 calories per 8 ounces

At least 50% of beverages must be water and no- or low-calorie options.

"This mix of beverages will be implemented in all schools by the 2009-2010 school year," Neely said.

Will the Fast-Food Industry Follow?

Kids, of course, don't get all their calories at school.

"We have to get moms and dads involved," Huckabee said. "Good habits are more caught than taught. If parents don't set the right kind of table, and the right kind of activity schedule, we won't solve this problem."

And sodas, of course, aren't kids' only high-calorie food.

Only yesterday, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a joint report calling for the food industry to make huge changes in how it sells high-calorie foods to kids.

"Responsible, industry-generated action and effective self-regulation are critical to addressing the national problem of childhood obesityobesity," FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras said in a news release. "The FTC plans to monitor industry efforts closely, and we expect to see real improvements."

The agencies' 138-page report recommended that food industries should:

  • Make products lower in calories, more nutritious, more appealing to children, and more convenient to prepare and eat.
  • Make smaller portions, single-serving packages, and offer other packaging cues to help consumers reduce serving sizes.
  • Change labels to clearly identify lower-calorie, nutritious foods without being misleading.
  • Change the way foods are marketed to children. For example, foods marketed to kids should meet minimum nutritional standards.
  • Educate consumers about nutrition nutrition and fitness with simple and effective messages.
  • Improve the "overall nutritional profile" of food products marketed and sold in schools.

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