Today, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the American Beverage Association announced important progress in the effort to limit the sale of unhealthy beverages in our nation's schools.
According to an independent evaluation report released today, virtually all schools and school districts measured now comply with the School Beverage Guidelines established by the Alliance, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Dr Pepper Snapple Group (formerly Cadbury Schweppes), and the American Beverage Association. The evaluation also reported an 88 percent reduction in beverage calories shipped to schools since 2004. This reduction is due to overall beverage sales declines and changes to the mix of beverages available to students.
These results are encouraging. But more remains to be done to achieve our goal of reversing the childhood obesity epidemic by 2015. More than 23 million children and adolescents in the United States—nearly one in three young people—are either obese or overweight. Today, children drink and eat an estimated 35 percent to 50 percent of their daily calories during school hours. Given the central role school plays in our children’s lives, we must strive to make every school in the country a healthy school. Congress can take an important next step by improving nutrition standards for all foods and beverages served and sold in schools when it considers reauthorizing the Child Nutrition Act later this year.
We know that when schools provide healthy and nutritious foods and beverages, children eat better. When schools provide high-quality physical education, children are more active. Both are key to reversing the childhood obesity epidemic and leaving the next generation with the legacy of health they deserve.
Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A.
President and CEO
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation