Thursday, February 10, 2005


How brain-dead can you get? They allow flavoured milk, which is FAR MORE fattening. And fruit juice has lots of sugar and other nutrients too. So this is a policy to INCREASE obesity!

"Philadelphia school officials approved a policy banning the sale of carbonated soft drinks in all city schools. Starting in July, only milk, water, fruit juice and the occasional sports drink will be available from most of the district's 740 vending machines and in its cafeterias, according to rules passed Wednesday by the School Reform Commission. The 214,000-student district took the action following a January recommendation by the American Academy of Pediatrics that soft drinks be eliminated from schools as a way of fighting an obesity epidemic among young people. "This policy will go a long way in supporting one of the district's core missions; doing everything we can to keep our students safe and healthy," reform commission Chairman James Nevels said in a written statement.

Sodas will continue to be sold from vending machines in faculty lounges that are off limits to students, the district said. Sports drinks, which also contain a high sugar content, will continue to be available to students but only in high schools and only in vending machines near athletic facilities. Carbonated beverages were never sold in the city's elementary schools. School officials estimated that the loss of soda sales will cost the district about $500,000 per year.

The district also set some ingredient restrictions on the types of beverages that have not been banned outright. Fruit drinks must be of 100 percent fruit juice, with no artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors. Drinking water must contain no additives, except small amounts of natural flavors and the kind of minerals found in tap water. Flavored and sweetened milks are OK, but no artificial colors allowed. In elementary schools, serving sizes for any beverage, except drinking water, will be capped at 12 ounces".

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Sweet drinks -- whether Kool-Aid with sugar or all-natural apple juice -- seem to raise the risk of pudgy preschoolers getting fatter, new research suggests. That may come as a surprise to parents who pride themselves on seeking out fruit drinks with no added sugar. "Juice is definitely a part of this," said lead researcher Jean Welsh of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While fruit juice does have vitamins, nutritionists say it's inferior to fresh fruit. The new U.S. dietary guidelines, for example, urge consumers away from juice, suggesting they eat whole fruit instead.

The bottom line, though, is that "children need very few calories in their day," Welsh said. "Sweet drinks are a source of added sugar in the diet." She said preschoolers were better off snacking on fruit or drinking water or milk.

[This loon has still not noticed that milk is full of nutrients!]

Welsh's research, published in the February issue of Pediatrics, found that for 3- and 4-year-olds already on the heavy side, drinking something sweet once or twice a day doubled their risk of becoming seriously overweight a year later. The sweet drinks seemed to have little effect, however, on children of normal weight. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting preschoolers to 4 to 6 ounces of juice per day. Some parents and schools are paying attention. One Chicago Head Start program banned juice last year as part of an anti-obesity effort after finding that one out of five of its students was obese. Monica Dillion, community health nurse for the Howard Area Family Center, said the preschool also added more fruits and vegetables to meals and more exercise to the daily schedule. The preschool has never served soft drinks. The juice ban drew no complaints, Dillion said. "The kids didn't notice at all."

The Pediatrics study followed 10,904 Missouri children in a nutrition program for low-income families. Researchers looked at the effect of sweet drinks in three groups: normal and underweight children, those at risk of becoming overweight, and those who already were overweight. The researchers compared the children's heights and weights, approximately one year apart. They also looked at parents' reports of what their children ate and drank during a four-week period at the beginning of the first year. Fruit drinks like Kool-Aid and Hi-C were included as sweet drinks, along with juice and soda.

The link between sweet drinks and being overweight showed up for all three weight categories, although it wasn't statistically significant for the normal and underweight children. Taking into account other differences, such as ethnicity, birth weight and a high-fat diet, didn't erase the effect of sweet drinks. The children in the study drank, on average, more fruit juice than soft drinks or sweetened fruit drinks.

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