FOR THE WEEK OF MAY 08, 2006
Sugary soft drinks won’t be sold in schools
Reports on this news are an example of health, fitness and nutrition coverage that appears regularly in the newspaper. Assign students to find at least two other examples of stories in those categories from recent issues or this week’s papers.
The soda pop report generally ran in main news sections because of its national scope and because a past president was involved. Medical and diet reports also are published in other spots, as pupils can discuss when you ask them to show sections or specialized pages that routinely present health information.
Just as school systems struggle to provide consistent messages about nutritious diets in cafeterias as well as classrooms, newspapers also sometimes present information in one place that differs with experts’ advice in news articles. See if alert class members can spot ads, photos, recipes or other items that seem to encourage “unhealthy” eating or other behavior, such as smoking.
The makers of Coke, Pepsi, Snapple and other products agreed last week to keep sweetened drinks out of U.S. school cafeterias and vending machines, starting this fall. The voluntary move, which covers public and parochial schools, follows pressure from the American Health Association and other health advocates, threats of lawsuits and state proposals to regulate school beverage sales.
Some areas already have tougher policies to promote nutrition. Connecticut last week banned all sodas, including diet drinks and sport drinks such as Gatorade, from schools. New York City schools allow only low-fat milk, water and 100-percent fruit juice. California also banned school soft drink sales earlier, as have some districts around the country.
A group led by former President Clinton was among those pushing for the new nationwide agreement as part of its effort to combat childhood obesity, which is estimated to affect more than 15 percent of U.S. students between 6 and 19. “This is a truly bold step forward in the struggle to help 35 million young people lead healthier lives,” said Clinton. “If an 8-year-old child took in 45 less calories per day, by the time he reached high school, he would weight 20 pounds less than he would have weighed otherwise.”
Details of deal: Beverage companies will sell only water, unsweetened juice and low-fat and non-fat milk to elementary and middle schools. Diet pop and sports drinks can stay in high schools. The change can be phased in over three years, though most districts are expected to insist on quicker compliance.
Doctor says: “For the first time, we are going to be able to control calories in beverage form in schools. That's an attempt to get at this childhood obesity epidemic." -- Dr. Robert Eckel, president of the American Heart Association
Additional concerns: “Many other things need to be done,” says Dr. Eckel, who mentions healthier snacks, school breakfast and lunch menus, and physical activity. Crusaders also want to ban soft drink ads in schools and on Channel One, seen by seven million pupils a day.
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