Target: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Food and Nutrition Service
Goal: Keep sugary drinks out of public schools
America has a big problem on its hand when it comes to the health of its youth. At least 17 percent of American children (12.5 million) are now considered to be obese (not overweight but obese), where fat is in excess and accounts for more body weight when compared to the height, fat, muscle, water, and bone mass of any particular child. Soda is a large part of the problem; each day, the average American child, ages 2 to 19, consumes an estimated 270 calories in sugary drinks and sodas alone.
At the Obesity Society’s Annual Scientific Meeting that took place in San Antonio, Texas, Dr. Steven Gortmaker, Director of the Harvard School of Public Health Prevention Research Center, warned about this particular trend and urged the government to intervene on behalf of children’s health. He said, “Populations in the U.S. drink tons of sugary sweetened beverage [sic]…The average high school student actually drinks more than 300 calories of sugar water every day.”
Depending on the age and gender, the daily calorie recommendation for a child is anywhere between 1,200 and 2,200. At this current rate, the average American child drinks 15 to 25 percent of his or her daily caloric allowance. In an academic paper, “Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Genetic Risk of Obesity”, the authors found that, “During the past 30 years, the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has increased dramatically. Compelling evidence supports a positive a link between the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and the risk of obesity.”
So how is this issue addressed? How is it eliminated? New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has received a fair amount of flack over his ban on the sale of sugary drinks that exceed 16 ounces. Consumers and the American Beverage Association have already voiced their opposition over the measure. But when it comes to the children and the health implications that can follow them for the rest of their lives, enough is enough.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Food and Nutrition Service must stop allowing sugary drinks to be sold in public schools. Sign the petition here to keep sugary drinks and sodas out of public schools. Public schools should not encourage poor eating and drinking habits.
Dear Members of the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service,
Almost one-fourth of American youths are considered obese—with some estimates listing that number around one-third—and there is no denying the harm in this trend. Obesity is a long-term issue and oftentimes leads to life-long ailments and serious health implications like diabetes and heart disease. At the rate that we are seeing, American children are quickly becoming a generation that is overweight.
While living healthy can be encouraged, there has to be a point when the government works on behalf of the current and future health of the nation’s youth. We have reached that point. At a recent assembly organized to examine a society plagued with obesity, researchers found that American youth consume up to 25 percent of their daily calories through sugary drinks and sodas.
Public schools should not encourage poor eating and drinking habits. To prevent this number from rising, and perhaps lower the current rate, the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service must work to prohibit the sales of these sugary beverages, that are known to contribute to obesity in kids and teens, at public schools across the country.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: U.S. Food and Drug Administration