American Academy of Pediatrics
Opposes Soft Drinks in Schools

Article from the January 2004 edition of the journal of the
American Academy of Pediatrics


CHICAGO (Reuters) Jan 05 - Soft drinks should not be sold in U.S. schools despite the revenues they generate because overconsumption of sugar-laden beverages can lead to obesity and tooth decay, the American Academy of Pediatrics said on Monday.

A number of school districts have entered into exclusive contracts with beverage companies that the AAP said are worth roughly $200 million annually to schools.

The National Soft Drink Association said about 200 out of 1,200 school districts have such contracts, similar to those reached with some movie theater and fast food restaurant chains.

A policy statement published in Pediatrics urged school administrators and parents to require beverage companies to offer unsweetened fruit juices, water and milk in school vending machines.

Soft drinks are already heavily promoted in society at large, and up to 85 percent of children drink at least one can daily, the statement said. Besides being unhealthy component in children's diets, the sugary drinks also cause tooth decay, it said.

"We're not against soft drinks, but the school environment is not the ideal place for soft drinks," statement co-author Dr. Robert Murray said in a telephone interview. "Drinks vended during school hours and even after school should be healthful."

Murray said each can of soft drink contains roughly 150 calories and 10 teaspoons of sugar.

The beverage industry responded to the physicians' policy statement by saying in-school offerings have already been broadened to include bottled water, sugar-free and caffeine-free drinks, sport drinks and teas.

Jim Finkelstein, executive vice president of the National Soft Drink Association, said beverage companies like Coca Cola Co. and PepsiCo are experimenting with milk-based products for school vending machines.

"The kids need a certain amount of hydration," Finkelstein said. "The average kid in a secondary school consumes 1.4 beverages out of a vending machine a week. The rate of consumption does not show these kids are guzzling soft drinks."

The soft drink association said school vending machines are already shut down during lunch by law, and cited a study showing soft drinks were not replacing milk in children's diets.

Jewish Australia thanks Ron Raab, President, Insulin For Life Incorporated, and Vice-President, International Diabetes Federation for sending us this article.

For other related health issues

Low Carb Experience and Rationale article as part of PDF file at

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