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Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools: Leading the Way Toward Healthier Youth
drinks, nonnutritive sweetened soft drinks, and low-calorie juice drinks; sugar-sweetened soft drinks and juice drinks containing 5 percent or less juice would be provided only after school to middle schools; (3) provide a variety of beverage choices, with no more than 50 percent of the vending selections being soft drinks to high schools (ABA, 2005). The policy applied to new contracts, not existing ones.
In May 2006, new school beverage guidelines were announced by the country’s top three soft drink companies, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Inc., and Cadbury Schweppes, which together control more than 90 percent of school beverage sales. These three companies and ABA established new voluntary guidelines to limit portion sizes and reduce the number of calories available to children during the school day (ABA, 2006). The agreement, assisted by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, stated that students in elementary schools would be served only bottled water; low-fat and nonfat milk with up to 150 calories per 8 ounces; and 100-percent fruit juice up to 8 ounces. High schools would be allowed to sell bottled water; no or low-calorie beverages with up to 10 calories per 8 ounces; nonfat and low-fat regular and flavored milk with up to 150 calories per 8 ounces; 100-percent juice with no added sweeteners with up to 120 calories per 8 ounces; and light juice and sports drinks with no more than 66 calories per 8 ounces. At least 50 percent of beverages must be water and a no or low-calorie option. Fully implementing the agreement is anticipated to take 3 years, with 75 percent of schools participating by fall 2008 and all by 2009. The guidelines are voluntary, and the success of the program depends on the schools’ willingness to amend existing contracts (Burros and Warner, 2006). A progress report on the agreement will be provided at the end of each school year, beginning in 2007 (Burros and Warner, 2006).
In October 2006, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation announced a collaboration with five of the nation’s leading food manufacturers to establish voluntary guidelines for foods offered for sale in schools outside of the NSLP to students before, during, and after the school day. Kraft Foods Inc., Mars Inc., Campbell Soup Co., Dannon, and PepsiCo Inc., agreed to begin promoting snacks that meet nutrition guidelines backed by the American Heart Association. The guidelines provide nutrition criteria for total, saturated, and trans fats; sugar; and sodium. Because the guidelines are voluntary, the plan’s success will depend on participation of schools in implementing the guidelines (Alliance for a Healthier Generation, 2006). Appendix D shows the food and beverage criteria proposed by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.