Removing High Sugar Soft Drinks From Public Schools

May 3, 2006 -- Posted at 5:36 p.m. CDT


JONESBORO, AR -- Some of the sweetness is leaving public schools.


A new deal has been brokered with the William J. Clinton Foundation, the American Heart Association, and soft drink distributors.


The deal calls for the removal of high sugar drinks from vending machines in public schools.


This is the first official nationwide call for the removal of soft drinks, but this is something officials with the state of Arkansas have been working on for a couple of years.


Arkansas is doing great things in this area.  In fact, they’re leading the nation in helping to make these trends, and address the obesity issue,” said Dr. Jim Farris, a professor at Arkansas State University.


Green County Tech Principal Gene Weeks says this is something that we all need to work on.


“We need to try to set the example as educators to try to keep our kids healthy.  Soda’s aren’t healthy,” said Gene Weeks.


That’s why these changes need to be made. 


“This is going to help in schools to try to start getting more healthy choices for children.  Hopefully it will address some of the obesity issues that we’re beginning to see,” said Farris.


However, the changes can't just stop at the end of the school day.


“I think what’s important for everyone to understand is that unless parents buy into this and they model healthy behavior at home, the kids are still going to have problems,” said Farris.


We’re already beginning the see the effects too much sugar can have.


“We have a whole generation of kids who are already exhibiting those lifestyle diseases that we didn’t see until they were adults,” said Farris.


Changes have already begun at many schools in Region 8. 


“What kids need to understand is that in a 12 ounce soda, that’s 100% of their daily sugar needs… it’s liquid candy,” said Farris.


Greene County Tech has replaced many of their high sugar drinks with juice.        


The Arkansas Soft Drink Association released this statement:


"The members of the Arkansas Soft Drink Association have always worked proactively with their school partners to respond to health concerns for students.  We anticipate the same cooperation as this agreement is fully implemented."


They hope to have all the changes implemented by the year 2010.