Getting Hard on Soft Drinks in Schools

Medical Editor:

Sweet soft drinks constitute the primary source of added sugar in the daily diet of children. Each 12-ounce serving of a carbonated, sweetened soft drink contains the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar! The majority of school-age children consume at least one soft drink daily.

In 2004, the AAP published a policy statement ("Soft Drinks in Schools") in response to a growing trend toward contracts for exclusive right of sale between school districts and their beverage distributors. The voice of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) was just one in a chorus of concern about poor nutrition and child health. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation was formed as a collaborative effort to help address childhood obesity. "School Beverage Guidelines" published in 2007 urged the beverage industry to alter the availability and mix of beverages offered in schools. Of greatest concern was the likelihood that innovations by the industry would usher in new but similar alternatives. To some extent, this prediction has been borne out. Fruit drinks, sports rehydration drinks, energy drinks, sweetened teas, and coffees have joined water, milks, and fruit juice as replacements for more traditional soft drinks.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/30/2015