Soda Goes Vroom from EDUs

healthier generation logoIn a move brilliant move, the two largest beverage companies took a stand on soda and high calorie drinks by agreeing “to halt nearly all sales of sodas to public schools.” At Sarah Lawrence I know there is a desire to rid the library of the vending machines (drink and food) as soon as humanly possible. Those aware of academic know that this does not mean ‘yesterday’.

The war on obesity is coming upon us and the Beverage companies see a way around the negative press. Smart. Very smart peeps.

Healthier Generation Press Release

Yahoo! Original link

Alliance for a Healthier Generation and Industry Leaders Set Healthy School Beverage Guidelines for U.S. Schools

Announces First Industry Agreement as Part of the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program Will Affect Tens of Millions of Students
May 3, 2006

New York, NY – The Alliance for a Healthier Generation – a joint initiative of the William J. Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association – has worked with representatives of Cadbury Schweppes, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and the American Beverage Association to establish new guidelines to limit portion sizes and reduce the number of calories available to children during the school day. Under these guidelines, only lower calorie and nutritious beverages will be sold to schools. This is the Alliance’s first industry agreement as part of its Healthy Schools Program, and it affects close to 35 million students across the country.

These science-based guidelines are just one part of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s overall strategy to help kids live healthier lives by decreasing excess calories consumed while increasing calories burned. Along with the Alliance’s other strategies, these guidelines will significantly impact the epidemic of childhood obesity. Launched in February of this year, the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program works with schools to help curb obesity among their students by creating environments that foster healthy lifestyles.

These guidelines will cap the number of calories available in beverages in schools at 100 calories per container, except for certain milks and juices whose nutritional value warrants the higher number of calories — a logical, and proactive step toward helping our kids live healthier lives.

Under the terms of the agreement, the beverage industry will work to spread these standards to 75% of the nation’s schools prior to the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year. The industry will strive to fully implement these guidelines prior to the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year, provided schools and school districts are willing to amend existing contracts.

“This is an important announcement and a bold step forward in the struggle to help America’s kids live healthier lives,” said President Clinton, a leader of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. “These industry leaders recognize that childhood obesity is a problem and have stepped up to help solve it. I commend them for being here today and for taking this important step. There is a lot of work to be done to turn this problem around but this is a big step in the right direction and it will help improve the diet of millions of students across the country.”

Governor Mike Huckabee, a leader of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and Chairman of the National Governors Association, said, “This agreement is an important example of industry voluntarily working with others to address one of the most critical challenges facing our nation — childhood obesity. I commend the parties involved in this agreement and look forward to seeing its positive impact on the health of our children.”

In addition to the Alliance’s efforts, the National Governors Association and a task force of six governors have also been working on reducing childhood obesity with industry representatives for the past year.

Under these newly established guidelines, elementary schools will only sell water, and eight ounce, calorie- capped servings of certain juices with no added sweeteners and servings of fat free and low fat regular and flavored milks. Middle schools will apply the elementary school standard with portion sizes increased slightly to 10 oz.

In addition to the beverages available in elementary and middle schools, high schools will also sell no calorie and low calorie drinks, such as bottled water, diet and unsweetened teas, diet sodas, fitness water, low calorie sports drinks, flavored water, and seltzers; as well as light juices and sports drinks.

At least half of available beverages in high schools will now be water, no calorie, and low calorie selections. Light juices and sports drinks will be sold in 12 ounce containers with no more than 100 calories per container, while 100% juices and non fat and low fat milks will also be sold in containers up to 12 ounces.

“This really is a groundbreaking agreement,” said American Heart Association President Robert Eckel, MD. “Many school districts are headed in the same direction as our guidelines. We commend the many leaders and advocates who have fought for healthier school environments. These new guidelines will help expedite those changes and support parents and students in districts that have not yet been able to improve the nutrition of their schools.”

Donald R. Knauss, President, Coca-Cola North America, said, “Our broad product portfolio offers great taste, refreshment, hydration and nutrition, and we’re pleased to use that portfolio to join the Alliance in helping to reduce calories and increase nutrition in our schools. By combining our product offerings with the nutrition and physical education programs we support, we can help put schools at the forefront of the efforts to create a healthier generation.”

“There are no shortcuts to solving the obesity problem,” said Dawn Hudson, President and CEO of Pepsi-Cola North America. “It’s a much broader issue then what students eat and drink. It is also about what they learn and what they do. This Alliance provides schools with real-world, common sense solutions that give students the tools they need to lead healthier lives. We’re delighted that our products are part of the equation.”

“At Cadbury Schweppes, we are incredibly proud of the brands that we make,” said Gil Cassagne, president and CEO, Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages. “We’ve created brands people love for over 200 years and are pleased to offer consumers a wide variety and choice of great tasting products that can fit into a balanced lifestyle. We are taking an important step forward by working with parents, community leaders and school officials to collectively focus on healthier lifestyles for children.”

Susan K. Neely, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Beverage Association, said, “The American Beverage Association welcomes the opportunity to work with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation in providing new beverage guidelines for schools. The new guidelines will continue our industry’s work to provide more lower-calorie and nutritious or functional beverages for students. Limiting calories in schools is a sensible approach that acknowledges our industry’s long-standing belief that school wellness efforts must focus on teaching kids to consume a balanced diet and be physically active.”

This agreement is the result of several months of talks between the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and representatives of the beverage industry. The parties explored practical ways to provide children with healthier options as part of the Alliance’s larger efforts.

The American beverage industry created a school vending policy last year. These new guidelines strengthen the current ABA policy by further reducing the availability of caloric beverages during the traditional school day and applying these same standards to the extended school day when before and after school programs, such as clubs, yearbook, band and choir practice, student government, drama, and childcare/latchkey programs, take place.

Beginning in 2007 and annually thereafter, the beverage industry will compile the percentage of schools they have under contract that are in compliance with this policy. This information will be made publicly available through the American Beverage Association beginning in August 2007.

About The Alliance for a Healthier Generation:
The Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association partnered in May 2005 to create a new generation of healthy Americans by addressing one of the nation’s leading public health threats –- childhood obesity. The Alliance focuses on preventing childhood obesity and creating healthier lifestyles for all children.

The Alliance targets several areas that will spark change and slow the increasing rates of childhood obesity in the U.S. and encourage healthier lifestyles for young people. The effort will focus on four key areas: industry; schools, healthcare professionals and kids. For more information visit

The Alliance launched its Healthy Schools Program in February of this year. The program takes a comprehensive approach by recognizing schools that improve nutrition in the foods sold in schools; that increase both physical education and physical activity before, during and after the school day; that provide nutrition education; and that establish staff wellness programs. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is a major funder of the Healthy Schools Program.

Courtney O’Donnell, Clinton Foundation, 212-348-0360
Kelly Kennai, American Heart Association, 202-785-7925


Soda Distributors to End Most School Sales

By SAMANTHA GROSS, Associated Press WriterWed May 3, 6:57 PM ET

The nation’s largest beverage distributors have agreed to halt nearly all sales of sodas to public schools — a step that will remove the sugary, caloric drinks from vending machines and cafeterias around the country.

The agreement was announced Wednesday by the William J. Clinton Foundation and will also likely apply to many private and parochial schools.

“This is a bold step forward in the struggle to help 35 million young people lead healthier lives,” former President Clinton said at a news conference. “This one policy can add years and years and years to the lives of a very large number of young people.”

Under the agreement, the companies also have agreed to sell only water, unsweetened juice and low-fat milks to elementary and middle schools. Diet sodas would be sold only to high schools.

“I don’t think anyone should underestimate the influence this agreement will have,” Susan Neely, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association, which has signed onto the deal, said earlier Wednesday. “I think other people are going to want to follow this agreement because it just makes sense.”

The agreement should reach an estimated 87 percent of the public and private school drink market, Neely said. Industry giants Cadbury Schweppes PLC, Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo Inc. and the ABA have signed on. Officials said they hope companies representing the other 13 percent of the market would follow suit.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a collaboration between Clinton’s foundation and the American Heart Association, helped broker the deal.

“The soft drink industry has decided that it won’t wait to be pushed,” said Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, the co-chair of the alliance. “It jumped in. … It may be the soft drink industry, but they made a very hard decision.”

The move follows a mounting wave of regulation by school boards and legislators alarmed by reports of rising childhood obesity. Soda has been a particular target of those fighting obesity because of its caloric content and popularity among children.

Still, the deal imposes stricter drink regulations than are currently in place for nearly 35 million public school students.

“This is really the beginning of a major effort to modify childhood obesity at the level of the school systems,” said Robert H. Eckel, the president of the Heart Association, adding that the alliance would also be working to put healthier foods in schools.

John Sicher, editor and publisher of Beverage Digest, which compiles extensive data on the beverage industry, said the agreement would have no impact on the $63 billion beverage industry’s bottom line.

“The sale of sugar-carbonated sodas in schools is a tiny, tiny part of their overall volume,” said Sicher. “Financially, on the big companies, it will have virtually no impact.”

He applauded the move, however, saying “The impact is more in terms of responsibility and accountability to the consumer.”

Under the agreement, high schools will still be able to sell 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. The “nutritious” drinks will be limited to 12-ounce servings, Neely said.

Elementary schools will sell 8-ounce servings of the “nutritious” drinks, and middle school kids will get 10-ounce-size drinks.

Whole milk will no longer be offered to any schools, Neely said.

School sales of sports drinks, diet sodas and bottled water have been on the rise in recent years, while sugary soft drink purchases by students have been falling, according to an ABA report released in December. But regular soda, averaging 150 calories a can, is still the most popular drink, accounting for 45 percent of drinks sold in schools in 2005, according to the report.

Diana Garza, a spokeswoman for the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co., said in a telephone interview that “these voluntary guidelines escalate … the shift to lower calorie, more nutritious beverages.”

A man who answered the phone at Cadbury Schweppes’ London headquarters said no one was available for comment. A call to PepsiCo Inc. was not immediately returned.

The new rules will apply to beverages sold on school grounds during the regular school day and at after-school activities such as band and choir practice, said Jay Carson, a spokesman for ClintonBut sales at events such as school plays, band concerts and sporting events, where a significant portion of the audience are adults, won’t be affected, he said.

The deal will be most easily enforced at vending machines, where students buy most of their drinks, Neely said.

How quickly the changes take hold will depend in part on individual school districts’ willingness to alter existing contracts, The Alliance for a Healthier Generation said in a release. The companies will work to implement the changes at 75 percent of the nation’s public schools before the 2008-2009 school year, and at all public schools a year later.

Dozens of states have considered legislation on school nutrition this year, but about 32 states still have no legislative or regulatory policy regulating the sale of drinks in schools, according to the American Heart Association.

Lawmakers in Connecticut voted last week to prohibit schools from selling regular and diet soda as well as electrolyte replacement drinks such as Gatorade.

The agreement follows an August decision by the ABA to adopt a policy limiting soft drinks in high schools to no more than 50 percent of the selections in vending machines. Unlike the agreement announced Wednesday, that recommendation was not binding.

Most elementary schools are already soda-free.
Associated Press Writers Karen Matthews, Nahal Toosi and Ula Ilnytzky contributed to this report.

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