Soda Pop To Be Banned In L.A. Schools
June 25, 2003 CBS NEWS
Health concerns have prompted school officials in Los Angeles County to vote to phase out the sale of soda pop and
sugar-laden soft drinks to its 748,0000 students.
In voting unanimously to end the sale of soda in vending machines and cafeterias by January of 2004, the Los Angeles
School Board rejected arguments that its 677 campuses need the money they make from the drinks, saying that students' health
should take precedence over fund raising.
But they also voted for a compromise measure that would allow for the superintendent of schools to address the issue
of lost revenue in a report to be filed six months from now.
"I find it appalling that we are discussing economics at the risk of our children's health," said board member Marlene
Canter, who sponsored the measure. She argued that schools should not rely on students to subsidize their own educations.
The school district already prohibits carbonated drink sales at elementary schools. The new measure extends the ban
to the district's approximately 200 middle and high schools. It only takes effect during school hours.
Still permitted during school hours are water, milk, beverages with at least 50 percent fruit juice and sports drinks
with less than 42 grams of sugar per 20-ounce serving.
The meeting was held in the auditorium of the Downtown Magnet High School, where four vending machines offered jumbo-sized
bottles of Coke, Sprite and Dr. Pepper for $1 each.
The decision in Los Angeles - one of the largest in the country, second only to New York City - is being closely watched
by educators and activists across the country amid studies that show the percentage of American adolescents who are overweight
has nearly tripled in the past 20 years. The trend has been blamed on junk food and lack of exercise.
School officials elsewhere have considered similar bans on soda pop sales but so far only a few - including the Oakland
Unified School District in northern California - have put them in place. The state of Texas bans the sale of all junk food
on its school campuses during lunchtime.
The new policy in Los Angeles will phase out soft drinks in vending machines and cafeterias, where they will be replaced
by water, milk and fruit and sports drinks.
Critics of the soda ban argue that sugar-laden drinks are only part of a larger health and junk food problem and some
Los Angeles school administrators predicted that they will have trouble paying for such things as dances and band uniforms.
"This is a little more about hype than solving the problem of childhood obesity," board member Mike Lansing said.
In California, an estimated 30 percent of children are overweight or at risk of being overweight, according to the
California Center for Public Health Advocacy.
A study last year by Massachusetts researchers concluded that drinking sugar-sweetened soft drinks increases the chance
of childhood obesity. Some other studies have failed to find any link.
Sean McBride, a spokesman for the National Soft Drink Association, a Washington, D.C.-based industry group, said that
sodas were being unfairly blamed for childhood obesity, which has a number of causes.
"Physical education and physical activity are by far, more important in combating obesity than banning soft drinks
from students' diets," said McBride. "In the end, this is really about the couch and not the can."
Others argue that school officials are focusing on student diets while education suffers, and that officials should
leave the issue of the childrens' diets to their parents.
Canter, who sponsored the ban, said that students should not be made to pay for school activities by buying soda and
pointed out that students who take in large amounts of sugar can have trouble concentrating in class.
Many Los Angeles Unified schools rely on soda sales to fund student activities such as sports and field trips. Sodas
sold in vending machines and student stores generate an annual average profit of $39,000 per high school and $14,000 per middle
Bob Phillips, a spokesman for Coca-Cola Bottling of Southern California, said his company plans to abide by the school
board's decision. He hinted that some of the school projects that the company underwrites may be threatened.
"We will see how the decision impacts on our relationship with local schools. There may need to be some revisions,"
McBride of the Soft Drink Association said that industry data his office receives indicates that the average American
secondary school student consumes two 12-ounce cans of regular and diet carbonated soft drinks at school each week.
Food/pop ban looks likely at new Prior Lake High School
By Natalie Nirgudé, Correspondent
May 09, 2003Over 100 parents who signed a petition to prohibit food
and pop in classrooms at the new Prior Lake High School in Savage might get their wish.
The draft of a food and beverage consumption policy for Prior Lake/Savage Area Schools went through its first reading on
Monday (May 5). The policy will be read again on May 19, before the school board votes on it.
The policy was sparked by the fact that the high school will be moving into a sparkling new building next fall. It requires
principals at all schools "to establish rules and designated areas for food and beverage consumption before, during and after
school." Those rules must accomplish three objectives: minimize damage to facilities and equipment, limit interruptions to
education, and encourage healthy eating habits. The policy gives principals leeway to allow food and beverages for special
events. The schools' rules will be published in student handbooks.
Superintendent Tom Westerhaus read an example of what rules could look like at Prior Lake High School. The draft limits
food and beverages to the commons area, food labs and a few other areas. Consumption would be allowed in restricted areas
by special permission from the administration, and signs would be posted to indicate, "No food or beverage beyond this point."
Water would not be considered a beverage and would be allowed in most areas, except for the media center, lecture hall, computer
labs and auditorium.
Board Treasurer Dick Booth thought it was "appropriate" for the school board to have a policy and expect buildings to implement
it. He was also glad water wouldn't be considered a beverage at the high school.
Board Clerk Diane Ziemann, who admittedly holds the school board's most conservative view regarding food and beverages
in the classroom, was pleased that food and beverages wouldn't be allowed in the classroom. "That is good in my estimation,"
Petitioners want food, drink capped at PLSHS
By Natalie Nirgudé, Staff Writer
April 25, 2003
Over 100 parents of children in Prior Lake/Savage
Area Schools have signed a petition asking the school district not to allow pop and food in classrooms at
the new Prior Lake High School.
"It just seemed that wasn't appropriate to us for numerous reasons," said parent Teresa DeRudder, whose son attends Hidden
Oaks Middle School now but will attend Prior Lake High School next fall.
DeRudder believes allowing food and particularly pop in classrooms fosters unhealthy eating and can create dental problems.
Even opening a bag of chips can cause a distraction and be disrespectful to the teacher.
"They're thinking of food versus their attention on the teacher," DeRudder said.
Plus, she noted, District 719 will open a new high school in the fall, and food and pop "shouldn't be allowed through the
The petition started last October during conversations between DeRudder and other parents who volunteer at HOMS on Tuesday
mornings. They noted that the middle school regulates students' behavior, but the high school gives students much more leeway.
The petition was signed by parents of elementary, middle school, and high school students, according to DeRudder, and was
circulated at a dentist's office, St. Michael's School, PTC groups, an open forum on school start times, and other venues.
"The students in the high school are given choices that we do not believe is their decision to make," petitioners said
in a letter to the school district. "They are still children. Yes, we know they are becoming young adults. The key word there
is becoming.' It is still our job to guide them. They are allowed to eat and drink in classrooms if the teacher will allow
it. Why is this up to each individual teacher? We believe this should be a standard policy at all schools. This should be
enforced by the principals, not left up to each individual teacher, and supported by the school board.
"We find it hard to understand that we are training the students at Hidden Oaks not to carry backpacks in the halls, not
to wear their coats or hats in school, and then when they get to high school, they can do all of those things plus eat food,
candy and drink pop in the classrooms. Are the students there to eat snacks, candy, drink pop, or are they there to receive
an education from that teacher?"
The petitioners would "like to have the pop out of the school completely," said DeRudder, who collected the petition. At
the least, she hopes it won't be allowed in classrooms so students aren't "carrying it around all day."
The petition is relevant at a time when the school district's policy committee is drafting a policy regarding where and
when food and beverages should be consumed at the new high school. According to Board Clerk Diane Ziemann who is on the committee,
the committee recently reached a deadlock, threw together a very rough draft, and opened it up to feedback from the full school
board. The policy committee considered input from board members at its meeting on Thursday (April 24). The committee plans
to include a new policy in student handbooks next fall.
The rough draft specifies that school principals should establish rules and designate areas for food and beverage consumption
to minimize damage to school property, limit interruptions in the classroom, and foster healthy eating habits. Principals
would be able to allow food and beverages for special events but must review the rules and designated areas for consumption
every year with the superintendent and school board.
The high school's current student handbook says students "will not consume food and beverages in classrooms without the
permission of the teacher. Students are also expected to clean up any spills or litter they create when eating in other areas."
"It is likely that the rules in the new building will be a bit more restrictive in where and when food and beverage consumption
will be permitted," said Craig Olson, principal on special assignment. "We will have staff supervision of the commons throughout
the day, something we do not have in the present building."
Ziemann admits that she holds the most conservative view regarding where and when food and beverages should be consumed
in the new high school facility, and she feels the current practice is too "loose." In fact, she signed the petition not to
allow food and pop in classrooms. (She doesn't have a problem with water as long as it's in a bottle with a cap.)
"I'm a taxpayer too," she said. "I don't like it. That was just the tip of the iceberg. [DeRudder] could have gotten a
lot more signatures."
The petition says a lot, Ziemann said, regarding what parents want. "That speaks volumes to me," she said. "There is a
conservative bunch out there that wants rules and regulations on consumption in the classroom."
Another policy committee member, board Director Lee Shimek, is concerned about inconsistency in the high school's current
practice. Some teachers allow food or drink; others don't. Some use the privilege as a reward for groups of students, leaving
others out. She wants everyone to follow the same rules, but she feels strongly that juniors and seniors should have more
privileges than freshmen and sophomores should have.
Shimek also noted that "we have some kids that are very active" who need the extra energy, particularly with lunch hours
next year starting as early as 10:05 a.m., making it a long time before they can get a snack after school, and as late as
noon, making it a very long morning.
Student Council President Dylan Heaney, a senior, doesn't think food and beverages should be banned from classrooms and
figures 90 percent of the student body at PLSHS would agree. He has heard that even water could be banned from classrooms,
which he called "ridiculous" considering he needed to carry a jug of water all day on Thursday to prepare for a track meet.
Although he understands the school district's motivation, he wonders when students will be allowed to be responsible for
their own decisions. "It just seems really weird," he said. "When do you teach kids to choose? When they get to college, they
can have pop? Yea."
Although the policy committee is looking at where and when food and beverages should be allowed in the new high school,
this summer it will also look at what foods should be offered in the high school's vending machines, according to Ziemann.
"When the new school opens, we want to know when the vending machines are on and what's in them."
If most beverages and food are banned from classrooms, Heaney at least hopes students will have choices for what they eat
in designated areas, like the commons. He thinks adults have the misconception that students are guzzling pop all day long.
In reality, he says, students are mostly drinking Powerade, juice, water and milk from the vending machines.
"If you're going to limit the areas, fine," he said, "but don't limit the choices."
|Coalition Wants Schools to Stop
Pushing Junk Food on Children|
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, July 12, 2000
For More Information Contact: Gary Ruskin (202) 296-2787 or Jim
Metrock (205) 612-3376
Coalition Wants Schools to Stop Pushing Junk Food on Children
To reduce childhood obesity, Commercial Alert, child advocates, public health
professionals, food safety groups and media scholars today asked key Members of Congress to get the public schools to stop
promoting junk food to schoolchildren.
The letter to Senate and House Agriculture Committee Chairmen Richard Lugar
(R-IN) and Larry Combest, (R-TX) and Ranking Members Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Charles Stenholm (D-TX) says that in thousands
of schools "corporations and school administrators have joined together to market high-calorie, caffeinated, high-sugar candy
and soda pop to impressionable children," which contradicts the purposes of the National School Lunch Program. The letter
Dear Chairmen Lugar and Combest, and Ranking Members Harkin and Stenholm:
When he signed the National
School Lunch Act into law in 1946, Harry Truman said that "no nation is any healthier than its children." Later that year,
Truman expanded on this theme. "The well nourished school child is a better student," Truman said. "He is healthier and more
alert. He is developing good food habits which will benefit him for the rest of his life. In short, he is a better asset for
his country in every way."
Congress enacted the National School Lunch Act to achieve the goal that President Truman
articulated so well. The Act established the National School Lunch Program "to safeguard the health and well-being of the
After extensive hearings, and reviews of statistical surveys of students, Congress concluded that
children learn better on a healthy diet. In its report on the bill, the House Committee on Agriculture wrote: "The educational
features of a properly chosen diet served at school should not be underemphasized. Not only is the child taught what a good
diet consists of, but his parents and family likewise are indirectly instructed." In its own report, the Senate Committee
on Agriculture noted that "proper nutrition is essential for the health and well-being of a child and for his growth and development
as a citizen."
For decades, the School Lunch Program has served this nation well. It has provided tens of billions
of healthful meals to the nation's schoolchildren. In recent years, however, the goals of the School Lunch Program have come
under increasing attack, and the culprits are the recipients of these federal dollars -- that is, the public schools.
Fiscal Year 1999, schools happily accepted $7.4 billion in taxpayer funds to carry out the federal school food programs. Yet
thousands of those schools have openly defied the intent of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees, and Congress as a
whole, in providing those dollars, by encouraging school children to eat junk food. In these schools, corporations and school
administrators have joined together to market high-calorie, caffeinated, high-sugar candy and soda pop to impressionable children.
touting the consumption of junk food is now commonplace in the nation's schools. About 12,000 schools show Primedia's Channel
One, an in-school marketing program disguised as a news show, which features a parade of ads for junk food and soda pop to
a contractually obligated captive audience of about eight million school children. In recent months, Channel One has used
the public classrooms to promote Snickers, Twix, M&M's, Pepsi, Hostess Cakes, Milky Way, Doritos, Mountain Dew, Nestle's
Crunch, Skittles and others.
This propaganda campaign for bad nutrition is intensifying. Soda pop is an example. Advertising
Age reported last year that "In the last 18 months alone, the number of exclusive soda contracts in school districts has increased
nationwide 300%, to 150." According to Channel One's Teen Fact Book 2000, schools sell soda pop as their "top beverage product,"
and the top food products sold are potato chips, tortilla chips and cookies.
It is probably no accident that childhood
obesity has become a major public health problem in the United States. An article in the October 27, 1999 issue of the Journal
of the American Medical Association notes "alarming increases in obesity among children and adolescents," and an accompanying
editorial remarks on the role of the "marketing of snack foods" in the obesity epidemic. In 1998, Surgeon General David Satcher
observed that many young people in America today are "starting out obese and dooming themselves to the difficult task of overcoming
a tough illness."
These young people will subject themselves and the whole society to enormous costs. One recent study
estimates that the total annual cost of obesity in the United States is nearly $100 billion, for diseases such as diabetes,
heart disease, high blood pressure, as well as extra visits to doctors, bed-rest and lost work days.
This is exactly
the kind of result that Congress intended the School Lunch Program to avoid. It sought to promote healthful eating habits
so that young Americans could grow up to be contributors to society, not medical burdens upon it. Yet that is what the public
schools -- schools that accept millions of dollars in Lunch Program funds -- are promoting.
To its credit, Congress
wisely reserved for itself full authority over the educational aspects of the Lunch Program. It specifically prevented the
Secretary of Agriculture from getting involved in this area. In other words, the ball is in your court, and if you do not
act now, the problem will likely grow worse. Of course, local school administrators can put commercial propaganda in their
schools if they wish. That's for them to decide.
But it's for Congress to decide whether it will continue to lavish
hundreds of millions of dollars in school lunch funds upon schools that are violating the very purpose for that program --
for money. School administrators shouldn't be allowed to have it both ways. They shouldn't be able to take federal money for
school lunches, and then take money or products from corporations to subvert the purposes of the lunch program.
have consequences, and that applies as much to school administrators as to anyone else. If these people are not willing to
abide by the purposes of the School Lunch Program -- that is, the "improvement of the health and well-being of the Nation's
youth"-- then perhaps they should pay for their own lunch program. Federal taxpayers deserve better, and so do the nation's
Joan Almon, U.S. Coordinator, Alliance for Childhood
Susan Berkson, Metro Coordinator,
Minnesota Children's Health Environmental Coalition
Brian Burt, Professor of Epidemiology, University of Michigan School
of Public Health
Dr. Brita Butler-Wall, School of Education, Seattle University
Jackie Hunt Christensen, Director, Food
Safety Project, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Ronnie Cummins, National Campaign Director, Organic Consumers
Roy F. Fox, Associate Prof. of English Ed. & Lit., University of MO-Columbia; author, Harvesting Minds
E. Frisch, Associate Professor of Population Sciences Emerita, Harvard School of Public Health
Todd Gitlin, Professor of
Culture, Journalism and Sociology, New York University; author, The Twilight of Common Dreams
Joan Gussow, M. S. Rose Professor
Emeritus, Nutrition and Education, Teachers College, Columbia Univ.
Jane M. Healy, author, Failure to Connect
Holst, Program Director, Seeds of Simplicity
Amid I. Ismail, Professor of Cariology, Restorative Sciences and Endodontics,
University of Michigan
Michael F. Jacobson, Executive Director, Center for Science in the Public Interest Carden Johnston,
Chair, Task Force On Commercialism in Schools, Alabama Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
Norman M. Kaplan, Clinical
Professor of Internal Medicine, Univ. of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Timothy J. Kasser, Assistant Professor of Psychology,
David L. Katz, Director, Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center
Jean Kilbourne, author, Deadly Persuasion
T. Kirkland, Professor of Pediatrics, Chief of Academic Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine
Ronald M. Krauss, Head,
Dept. of Molecular Medicine, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Jane Levine, Co-founder, Kids Can Make A Difference
McCannon, Executive Director, New Mexico Media Literacy Project
Robert McChesney, Research Associate Professor, U. of Illinois
at Urbana-Champaign; author, Rich Media, Poor Democracy
Bernard McGrane, Associate Prof. of Sociology, Chapman Univ.; author,
The Un-TV and the 10 Mph Car
Jim Metrock, President, Obligation, Inc.
Mark Crispin Miller, Professor of Media Ecology,
New York University
Alex Molnar, Director, Center for the Analysis of Commercialism in Education, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Nestle, Chair, Department of Nutrition & Food Studies, New York University
Neil Postman, Professor of Media Ecology,
New York University; author, Amusing Ourselves to Death
Eric Rimm, Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition, Harvard
School of Public Health
Thomas N. Robinson, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, Stanford Univ. School of Medicine
Rushkoff, author, Coercion and Media Virus
Gary Ruskin, Director, Commercial Alert
Phyllis Schlafly, President, Eagle
Juliet Schor, Senior Lecturer on Women's Studies, Harvard University; author, The Overspent American
Professor of Public Health
Nutrition, Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota
Taylor, Executive Director, Center for a New American Dream
David Wall, President, Citizens' Campaign for Commercial-Free
Donald E. Wildmon, President, American Family Association