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CDC Report: Schools Offering Healthier Options in Vending Machines

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By Rachel Howell Stockton

A report released by the US CDC maintains that more schools are banning sugary soft drinks and fat laden snack foods from campus vending machines. The report, entitled Availability of Less Nutritious Snacks, Foods and Beverages in Secondary Schools states that of the 34 states studied, 63% of their schools do not sell soda, nor do they peddle "fruit drinks" that are not 100% fruit juice. Many of these drinks, though they tout that they are made with "real fruit juice" are loaded with high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors, with only 10% being comprised of actual fruit juice.

This trend showcases a national push for parents and schools to actively do something to curtail increasing obesity in children. 1/3 of our nation’s youth in 30 states are considered either overweight or obese.

In 2005, then chairman of the National Governor’s Association, Mike Huckabee, led a coalition that emphasized improving the health and health care of our nation’s children by urging states to limit access to junk food during school hours. At that time, he partnered with Bill Clinton on a 10-year campaign devoted to reducing the obesity epidemic in children.

In Huckabee’s and Clinton’s home state of Arkansas, schools have not allowed sodas and unhealthy snacks to be sold on their campuses for the past several years. Huckabee, who was at one time obese, has opened up many times about his struggle to become healthier by exercising and making better food choices.

In the report, Howell Weschsler, director of the CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health states, "The school environment is a key setting for influencing children's food choices and eating habits."

He’s right. Sugary soft drinks (that pack 140 calories a can) and sugary, fat laden snack fair are the main culprits behind our expanding waist lines, according to the CDC.

(Send your news to [email protected], Foodconsumer.org is part of the Infoplus.com ™ news and information network)

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