May 8, 2006
Grabbing a soda from the
vending machine at school may get more difficult for many students
in the near future.
"Regular sodas will
disappear from many US schools under a new agreement announced Wednesday
[May 3, 2006] by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. ... The
effort is part of a plan to address obesity among American youth,
which has skyrocketed over the past 20 years. 'This is an important
announcement and a bold step forward in the struggle to help America's
kids live healthier lives,' said former President Bill Clinton.
His William J. Clinton Foundation created the Alliance in partnership
with the American Heart Association. The soda deal was crafted with
beverage companies Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Cadbury Schweppes, and the
American Beverage Association."
The vending machines will
still be there, so what does this new deal really mean for thirsty
"Under the agreement,
high schools will still be sold low-calorie drinks that contain
less than 10 calories per serving, as well as drinks that are considered
nutritious, such as juice, sports drinks and low-fat milk. Whole
milk will no longer be offered to any schools because of its calorie
content, Neely said. School sales of those kinds of drinks have
been on the rise in recent years, while regular soda purchases by
students have been falling, according to an ABA report released
in December. But regular soda, averaging 150 calories per can, is
still the most popular drink among students, accounting for 45%
of beverages sold in schools in 2005, the report said. ... The companies
agreed to work to implement the changes at 75% of the nation's public
schools by the 2008-2009 school year, and at all public schools
a year later."
As this deal becomes reality,
school vending machines will replace full-calorie sodas with "drinks
that are considered nutritious, such as juice, sports drinks and
Many agree: something must
"The soda deal, in
the meantime, will affect at least 35 million school-age children,
and by any measure it comes none too soon. Two-thirds of U.S. adults
are overweight or obese, and so are a shocking 17% of kids, with
another 15% at risk. Children who start life fat often stay that
way, with all the attendant health consequences. Kids as young as
10 are turning up with obesity-related Type 2 diabetes, which used
to be known as the adult-onset form of the disease. The Clinton-backed
plan would cut off a significant part of the sugar stream that's
causing those problems. 'This one policy can add years and years
and years to the lives of a very large number of young people,'
Clinton said after the deal was announced."
"This one policy can
add years and years and years to the lives of a very large number
of young people..."
The intentions are good.
"The report indicates
that dairy foods provide the best source of calcium. Seventy-two
percent of dietary calcium in the U.S. food supply comes from milk
and other dairy foods. In addition to calcium, milk is the number
one source of several other key nutrients in the American diet,
including potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. In fact, the 2005
dietary guidelines Advisory Committee, appointed by the USDA, recognized
that people who consume more dairy foods have better overall diets,
consume more nutrients and see improved bone health. Not surprisingly,
research has shown that children who regularly avoid milk have lower
bone mineral density and have more bone fractures."
Most will agree that milk
is a healthier choice than soda, but too much of anything can be
for physical activity, maturation and height growth, the researchers
found that those boys and girls who drank more than three servings
of milk a day were 25 percent more likely to become overweight than
those who drank two to three servings a day. ... Most children,
according to Segrave-Daly, drink less than one glass of milk a day.
Berkey said the weight gain appeared to result from the calories
in the milk rather than something particular to the milk itself.
... Surprisingly, almost all the children in the study drank low-fat
milk rather than whole milk, and the authors believe that estrone
and whey protein in dairy products may cause weight gain. ... 'The
bottom line is still the calories, but the question is whether calories
from different sources are healthier -- and this study doesn't change
thinking about that,' she said."
As is the case with milk,
most will agree that juice is a healthier choice than soda, but
it is also not the perfect drink -- and five servings of juice is
not the same as eating five servings of whole fruit.
"Juice contains a
small amount of protein and minerals. Juices fortified with calcium
have approximately the same calcium content as milk but lack other
nutrients present in milk. Some juices have high contents of potassium,
vitamin A, and vitamin C. In addition, some juices and juice drinks
are fortified with vitamin C. The vitamin C and flavonoids in juice
may have beneficial long-term health effects, such as decreasing
the risk of cancer and heart disease. ... Nevertheless, it seems
prudent to limit juice intake to two 6-oz servings, or half of the
recommended fruit servings each day. It is important to encourage
consumption of the whole fruit for the benefit of fiber intake and
a longer time to consume the same kilocalories. Excessive juice
consumption and the resultant increase in energy intake may contribute
to the development of obesity."
In addition to milk and
juice, bottled water and sports drinks will still be sold in schools...
"Bottled waters and
sports drinks are a multibillion-dollar industry, but ABC News'
medical contributor Dr. David Katz says these drinks offer little
more than extra calories, sugar and sodium to our diets. Katz reviews
the winners and losers of sports drinks and fortified waters. ..."
Questions of the Week:
How will the new beverage distribution agreement affect what you
drink? How will it affect others in your school? What effect do
you think the changes will have on the overall health of the children
and teens who attend the affected schools? How would you educate
your peers about the importance of moderation, even with drink options
that are considered healthy (or healthier)?
Please email me with any ideas or suggestions.
Note: Due to increasing amounts of SPAM sent to this account, please include "QOW" in the subject line when sending me email.
I look forward to reading
what you have to say.
Health Community Coordinator
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum