The Associated Press is reporting US beverage distributors have agreed to stop nearly all soda sales to public schools in an attempt to help quell childhood obesity. Companies have agreed to only sell unsweetened juice, low-fat milks, and water to elementary and middle schools; diet soda will only be available in high schools. Samantha Gross reports:
The deal follows a wave of regulation by school districts and state legislatures to cut back on student consumption of soda amid reports of rising childhood obesity rates. Soda has been a particular target of those fighting obesity because of its caloric content and popularity among children.
"It's a bold and sweeping step that industry and childhood obesity advocates have decided to take together," said Jay Carson, a spokesman for former President Bill Clinton.
A man who answered the phone at Cadbury Schweppes' London headquarters said no one was available for comment. Calls seeking comment from the other distributors were not immediately returned early Wednesday.
Nearly 35 million students nationwide will be affected by the deal, The Alliance for a Healthier Generation said in a news release. The group, a collaboration between Clinton's foundation and the American Heart Association, helped broker the deal.
"This is really the beginning of a major effort to modify childhood obesity at the level of the school systems," said Robert H. Eckel, president of the American Heart Association.