Y

STAFF
EDITORIAL
FUN D I NG S C H O O L S . . . WITH JU N K FO O DS
Y
ou don’t have to be a
parent to know that
kids are getting fat. Over
the last 20 years, obesity
rates have doubled in children and tripled in teens.
A major reason is that
youngsters are eating more
...and we don’t mean
Memo from MFJ
Brussels sprouts and cabbage. Soft-drink consumption by children
aged 6 to 18 increased 40 percent between
1989 and 1996. In one recent study, children who drank more soft drinks consumed more calories and were more likely
to become obese.
Sodas also promote cavities. And the
more soft drinks and bogus juice drinks
kids swallow, the less room they have for
fat-free milk (its calcium can help prevent
osteoporosis), 100 percent fruit juice (its
vitamins and other nutrients may help
prevent cancer), or just plain water.
Amazingly, many school administrators
—lured by the promise of easy money for
their strapped budgets—are fueling the
obesity epidemic by selling junk foods.
Some 40 percent of elementary schools,
75 percent of middle schools, and almost
all high schools have vending machines or
a store, canteen, or snack bar. The most
common foods sold there? You guessed it:
soft drinks, juice “drinks” that have little
or no juice, chips, cookies, snack cakes,
and other hardly-good-for-you foods.
Schools say they need to sell junk food
to raise money for everything from books
to sports equipment. But is it smart to
fund one percent or so of our schools’ budgets at the expense of our children’s
health?
In the July/August issue (p. 12), a description of
Cold Stone Creamery’s Berry Berry Berry Good
sweet cream yogurt should have said that the dish
has more saturated fat “than a scoop of any low-fat
ice cream at any other chain.” The word “low-fat”
was unintentionally omitted.
The use of information from Nutrition
Action Healthletter for commercial
purposes is prohibited without written
permission from CSPI.
2
CIRCULATION MANAGEMENT
Dennis Bass
Debra Brink
Penny Brooks
Damon Dorsey
Louella Fennell
Greg Hildebrandt
Cecilia Saad
Chris Schmidt
Ken Waldmiller
SCIENTIFIC
ADVISORY BOARD
Kelly D. Brownell, Ph.D.
Yale University
Greta R. Bunin, Ph.D.
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Leonard A. Cohen, Ph.D.
American Health Foundation
Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D.
Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Stephen Havas, M.D., M.P.H., M.S.
School of Medicine, University of Maryland
David Jacobs, M.D.
Washington, DC
Norman M. Kaplan, M.D.
Southwestern Medical Center
University of Texas, Dallas
JoAnn E. Manson, M.D., Ph.D.
Harvard Medical School
Susan Taylor Mayne, Ph.D.
Yale University
Julie Mares-Perlman, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin
J. Glenn Morris, Jr., M.D.,
M.P.H.&T.M.
School of Medicine, University of Maryland
Susan B. Roberts, Ph.D.
USDA Human Nutrition Research Center
on Aging, Tufts University
Frank Sacks, M.D.
Harvard Medical School
Ronald A. Simon, M.D.
Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation
Jeremiah Stamler, M.D.
Northwestern University Medical School
Regina G. Ziegler, Ph.D., M.P.H.
National Cancer Institute
Nutrition Action Healthletter (ISSN 0885-7792)
is published 10 times a year (monthly except
bi-monthly in Jan./Feb. and Jul./Aug.).
Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Copies of the 70-page “School Foods
Correction
The contents of NAH are not intended to
provide medical advice, which should be
obtained from a qualified health professional.
(The food industry pretends that the
answer to kids’ excessive soft-drink consumption is more physical activity. Of
course that’s important, but keep in mind
that a 110-pound child would have to bike
for 75 minutes to burn off just one
20-ounce Coke.)
School officials who believe that kids
will only buy lousy foods should consider
what half a dozen middle and high schools
in California, Maine, Minnesota, and
Pennsylvania discovered. When they
replaced soft drinks in their vending
machines with water and 100 percent fruit
juice, they earned about the same amount
of money. (Juices have no fewer calories
than soft drinks, but they’re more nutritious.)
To improve children’s diets, Congress,
the states, and school districts should
adopt nutrition standards for foods sold
outside of the official school breakfasts and
lunches.
To help parents get more healthful foods
into their schools, the Center for Science
in the Public Interest (which publishes
Nutrition Action Healthletter) has developed
a “School Foods Tool Kit.” It includes
advice for working with school officials, as
well as model policies, sample letters, and
other materials. You can order a copy
from the address below or print it out from
www.cspinet.org/schoolfood.
Michael Jacobson, Ph.D.
Executive Editor
Bonnie Liebman, M.S.
Director of Nutrition
Stephen B. Schmidt
Editor-in-Chief
Jayne Hurley, RD
David Schardt
Senior Nutritionists
Heather Jones DeMino, RD
Tamar Genger, RD
Sarah Wade, B.Sc. Nutr.
Project Coordinators
Nicole Ferring
Administrative Assistant
Tool Kit” are available for $10 each
(checks only, price includes shipping)
from: CSPI—School Kit, Suite 300,
1875 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20009-5728.
The Center for Science in the Public
Interest (CSPI) is the non-profit healthadvocacy group that publishes Nutrition
Action Healthletter. CSPI mounts educational programs and presses for changes in
government and corporate policies.
NUTRITION ACTION HEALTHLETTER ■ S E P T E M B E R 2 0 0 3
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