Monday, April 5, 2010

Reported 88 Percent Decrease in Total Beverage Calories Shipped to Schools

In May 2006, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a joint initiative of the William J. Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association, worked with representatives of Cadbury Schweppes, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and the American Beverage Association to establish new School Beverage guidelines to limit portion sizes and reduce the number of calories available to children during the school day. Under these guidelines, only lower calorie and nutritious beverages were to be sold to schools.

In March, the Alliance released the final results of an independent third-party study to analyze the effect of the Alliance School Beverage Guidelines, including the following:
  • There has been an 88 percent decrease in total beverage calories shipped to schools between the first half of the 2004-05 school year and the first half of the 2009-10 school year.
  • At the beginning of the 2009-10 school year, 98.8 percent of all measured schools and school districts were in compliance with the Alliance School Beverage Guidelines.
  • Shipment volumes of full-calorie carbonated soft drinks to schools were 95 percent lower in the first half of the 2009-10 school year than they were in the first half of the 2004-05 school year, before the Guidelines went into effect.

In 2004 high school students drank on average one 12-ounce can of full-calorie carbonated soft drink at school per week. The current high school shipment levels mean that the average high school student now consumes the equivalent of one can and a half of full calorie carbonated soft drink at school per year

Shortly after the study results were released, PepsiCo announced plans to voluntarily remove high-calorie sweetened drinks from schools for kids up to age 18 in more than 200 countries by 2012. This is one step in the fight to create a “Healthy School” environment, and we have many more steps to take (and if you watch Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, you can see just how far we have to go).

To further these efforts, the AHA has joined the Partnership for a Healthier America, an independent, nonpartisan organization that has been established to convene and mobilize the private sector, foundations, thought leaders, media, and local communities around the goal of curbing childhood obesity within a generation. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation is one of six founding members of the Partnership for a Healthier America and will provide strategic counsel and expertise to help scale, launch and sustain the Foundation’s work in combating childhood obesity. This Partnership is part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s efforts to combat childhood obesity via her Let’s Move campaign, an initiative to unite and inspire American families to take real and sustained actions to eat better, be more active and make a commitment to embracing healthier lifestyles.

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