Wednesday, April 19, 2006
It is another day of school. We go to class, wait for that much needed lunch, and buy what we buy everyday- some chips, maybe a fresh chocolate cookie, and a coke. It's comfort food, with the soda on the side that helps us survive the rest of the day.
But it's making many of us obese.
In response, California is set to ban soda sales at Logan and other state high schools, starting in July 2007.
That may sound extreme, but according to the Center of Science in Public Interest (CSPI), a non-profit advocacy group in Washington D.C., two out of three teenagers in California drink soda everyday. The average intake for males 13 to 18 is three or more cans of soda a day. Today, with the epidemic of obesity in America, and specifically in teenagers, nutrition and health is a huge issue.
A recent study by researchers of Children’s Hospital Boston showed a connection between consumption of sugary drinks and childhood obesity.
Children’s Hospital Boston’s Cara Ebbeling, PhD, and David Ludwig, MD, Phd led a controlled trial for 103 children ages 13 to 18. Half of the teens, picked randomly, were sent non-caloric beverages of their choosing. The remaining teens were asked to continue their regular eating and drinking habits as a control group.
After six months, the group that had received the calorie-free drink deliveries had an 82% decrese in the consumption of sugary drinks, while the control group continued unaffected. The body mass index of the drink delivery group decreased, while the control group had a slight increase. Other factors such as exercising and television viewing did not change in either group.
Ebbeling concluded that one 12-oz sugary drink every day converted to a one pound weight gain over 3 to 4 weeks. “It should be relatively simple to translate this intervention into a pragmatic public health approach. For example, schools could male non-caloric beverages available to students by purchasing large quantities at low costs.”
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill to ban soda sales in public high schools in California. “California is facing an obesity epidemic.” He plans for it to be the first steps in creating a healthier California.
With James Logan High School as one of the many schools that sell soda to its students, it will also have to ban the soda sales due to the legislation signed by Schwarzenegger. Last September, the state Senate bill which bans the selling of soda on high school campuses, SB965, was introduced by Senator Martha Escutia of State Senate District 30 in Southern California, . SB965 is one of several bills signed into law to “eliminate junk food and soda from campuses, and to increase the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables available to students,” said Schwarzenegger. The new law will go into full affect by July 1, 2007.
The director of Food and Nutrition Services of New Haven District, Elsie Lee Szeto, explained more about the “soda ban”. She said that no less than 50 percent of all beverages sold to students between a half hour before school begins and a half-hour after school will have to meet specific criteria that include alternatives like fruit based drinks that are comprised of no less than 50 percent fruit juice and have no added sweeteners. All milk sold will be two percent fat milk, soy milk, and other similar nondairy milk.
Linda Kingston, the Activities Director here on campus, explains that Logan is going to slowly move toward the change. She says that they are preparing to replace all the vending machines with more variety of beverages other than soda; Gatorade and juice machines are the most likely replacements. Kingston also emphasizes that they will not suddenly “cut off” all the soda beverages at school one day; they are going to slowly transition into becoming a soda-free school.
One concern about the looming ban is the loss of revenue generated by the soda machines. Szeto stated that “studies from districts that have eliminated sodas from the campus have not shown a loss of revenue.” She said that it was due to “still being able to offer sport drinks that are still popular with students.”
There was a variety of response from fellow soda drinkers at Logan about the future law.
Stephanie Speth and Katherine Postiglione, Logan seniors, said that, “it would not be a big deal if soda was not sold on campus. Just something to drink other than just water and milk will be fine.”