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What Took Pediatricians so Long to Say Soda Should be Out of Schools???

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), with its new policy statement, is discouraging elementary and high schools from making contractual agreements with soft drink companies to carry their products in hallway vending machines. The policy statement cites data showing that 56 percent to 85 percent of school-age children consume at least one soda daily, mostly sugared rather than diet. Schools derive significant financial rewards from signing contracts with food vendors, especially soda companies, both in terms of signing bonuses and shared revenue. The U.S. General Accounting Office reported in 2000 that only six states mandate restrictions on the sale of junk food in certain school settings. A 2001 Harvard study co-authored by Dr. David Ludwig, director of the obesity program at Children's Hospital in Boston, found that every additional can of soda kids drink daily increases their risk of becoming obese by 60 percent.

While I applaud the AAP for taking an appropriate stance I really want to know what took them so long. Selling sodas in school is nothing new. Nearly three years ago I posted information on this topic that explained that schools had contracts with soft drink companies and other vendors that earned them as much as $100,000 a year. Some schools had guaranteed sales of about 50 sodas per student. I wonder if the pediatric dentists previous affiliation with Coke had anything to do with this.

Pediatrics Vol. 113 No. 1 January 2004, pp. 132

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