Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Whatever happened to...parents?

As seen by the above link, CNN is reporting:

In a deal announced Wednesday, the nation's largest beverage distributors agreed to stop selling non-diet sodas to most public schools, where childhood obesity has become an increasing concern.

"This is truly bold step forward in a struggle to help more than 35 million American young people live healthier lives," said former President Clinton, whose William J. Clinton Foundation helped broker the deal.

Public high schools would still be sold diet soda under the agreement, but elementary and middle schools would be sold only unsweetened juice, low-fat milk and water, he said.

First of all, even though I am a fan of diet Pepsi, diet pop is not any healthier in large quantities than regular pop, so that seems to be an equally silly trade off.

Second, did pop machines belong in elementary schools in the first place? My children have never been allowed to drink pop in school with the rare exception of holiday parties and even then most times juice was served.

Third this is a PR move that is not going to do anything about childhood obesity. Anyone pay attention to how much time elementary children even have for a lunch period? How many cans of pop do you think they are even drinking? Given the typical 20 to 30 minutes and the line waiting required? I'd say not much.

The CNN article gives conflicting information:

Nearly 35 million students nationwide will be affected by the deal, said The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which worked with Clinton's foundation and the American Heart Association on the deal.


The move shouldn't have much impact on the $63 billion beverage industry's bottom line, said John Sicher, editor and publisher of Beverage Digest, which compiles extensive data on the industry.

"The sale of sugar-carbonated sodas in schools is a tiny, tiny part of their overall volume," Sicher said. "The impact is more in terms of responsibility and accountability to the consumer."


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 percent of beverages sold in schools in 2005, the report said.