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Junk Food Still Clear And Present In Our Schools

Just ran across an article on Yahoo News that provides some sad statistics on junk food in our schools.

The U.S. General Accountability Office reported yesterday that 9 out of 10 U.S. schools offer junk food like candy bars and soda to students that directly compete against school lunches.

To break it down, the GAO report indicates that 83 percent of elementary schools, 97 percent of middle schools, and 99 percent of high schools offered "competitive" foods for sale, foods that are not within the parameters of the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Programs.

Although some of these competitive foods included fruit, I think we can safely assume that the bulk of them were candy bars, potato chips, and pop/soda.

The GAO report went on to state that these competitive foods are offered usually for the revenue that they provide schools. To give you an idea of the amount of money involved, around 30 percent of high schools that generated the most money from these competitive foods in 2003-2004 made more than $125,000.00 per school.

The funny part of this story is that the American Beverage Association issued a statement saying it had "new guidelines that would stop the sale of soft drinks in elementary schools and restrict sales in middle schools to "nutritious" or lower-calorie beverages such as sports drinks, no-calorie soft drinks, and low-calorie juice drinks during the school day."

Translation: instead of selling coca cola and pepsi, they will restrict themselves to selling gatorade and powerade, which are really just like soft drinks minus the fizz. Instead of selling some drinks that are loaded with sugar, they will restrict themselves to selling drinks that are loaded with artificial sweeteners.

In case you aren't aware of all of the problems associated with artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame, be sure to read: When Did "Artifical Sweeteners" Become Just "Sweeteners"?.

Our children deserve so much better than junk foods loaded with sugar, artificial sweeteners, artifical flavours, artificial colours, and harmful oils. Let's not wait for governments and schools to protect the health of our children. If your child's school is still offering junk foods, please let school officials know how you feel about this.


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