March 8, 2010

Beverage Group Touts Lo-Cal Success In Schools

High-calorie soft drinks are out; juices and sports drinks are in, and schools across the country are complying with beverage guidelines designed to make kids healthier, claims the American Beverage Association in their most recent progress report.

The Alliance School Beverage Guidelines Final Progress Report, which was released on March 8, 2010, concludes that the removal of high-calorie, high-sugar soft drinks and beverages has resulted in an 88-percent decrease in the total calorie content of liquids shipped to schools since the start of the 2004-05 school year. Furthermore, 98.8% of all measured schools and districts in the U.S. are currently in full compliance with the guidelines.

"These results demonstrate that the beverage companies and their bottlers succeeded in bringing these Guidelines to fruition nationwide and have helped promote a healthy school environment," the report states. "This commitment was significant, given the challenges associated with educating bottlers and schools alike"¦ [and] this commitment is one with lasting implications."

The report, which was prepared by Washington D.C. research firm Keybridge Research LLC, also claims that the average high school pupil "purchased just half an ounce of full-calorie carbonated soft drinks per week. This is down from more than 12 ounces per week in 2004."

In 2004, the American Beverage Association announced that they were teaming with the William J. Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association to limit the size of high-calorie beverage portions and reduce the availability to students during the school day.

In a statement released on their website, the American Beverage Association said: "We promised America's parents that we would change the beverage mix in schools, and our companies - along with their school partners - have delivered dramatic and significant results"¦ we've removed full-calorie sodas from schools and replaced them with a range of lower-calorie, nutritious, smaller-portion choices. This has been no easy feat, but it is one we are proud of."

"A critical component of the Alliance's national effort to end childhood obesity has been our work with the beverage industry to reduce the amount of calories our kids consume in schools," added former President Bill Clinton, founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation, in a March 8 press release. "We are encouraged by the significant progress we've made and look forward to continuing our work with participating schools, companies and the American Beverage Association to give young people the options and opportunities they need to lead healthier lives."


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