August 17, 2005
The fight against childhood obesity has more support today. Soft drink makers announced they're "canning" soda machines in elementary schools.
After years of criticism, the nation's soft drink makers say they are joining the battle against childhood obesity and pulling their own products from some schools. Joseph Krenitsky, a UVA Nutritionist feels that in the long run doing this will save lives.
"We can project in the future where it really will be reaching epidemic proportions, that strong measures will need to be taken. I think this is a good first step," said Krenitsky.
The proposal calls for elementary schools to replace the soda with water and juice. For middle schools a no-calorie soda can be added. While high schools will sell soda, it should make up no more than half of vending machines choices.
"One soda per day is 150 calories, but when you look at that for 365 days per year, just that one soda per day [can turn into] 19 pounds of potential extra body fat at the end of the year," said Krenitsky.
This proposal doesn't mean it's a cure for childhood obesity. Meals eaten at school also play a major role in childhood heath and eating habits. Looking at the Albemarle County lunch menu full of pizza and cheeseburgers, Krenitsky found that with parents help, kids will eat their fruits and vegetables.
"Children, even from a very early age can make good choices if they feel motivated to do so," said Krenitsky.
But the problem won't go away overnight; an estimated 9 million children between 6 and 19-years-old are overweight.