Capping Caffeine Cravings in School

9 years 8 months 1 week ago March 28, 2007 Mar 28, 2007 Wednesday, March 28 2007 Wednesday, March 28, 2007 10:42:43 PM CDT in News

Soft drink makers like Coke and Pepsi announced a plan Wednesday to remove all soda from elementary schools and to provide only diet soda in high schools.

"I usually buy sodas all the time, I'm not gonna lie," admitted Rock Bridge High student Kelia Hardin. "After class, good caffeine keeps me going."

Another Rock Bridge High student, Amanda Miller, added, "Sometimes it's really helpful, just to stay awake if you've had a long night of studying."

Childhood obesity critics said eliminating soda in schools will help improve students' health. But, educators said that won't solve the problem.

"Students have access to soft drinks throughout the day," said Assistant Principal Kathy Ritter. "These students are mobile. You know they're going to run over to the Taco Bell and have a Coke. So, the impact we can make on their diet is diminished, obviously, from what it is at a younger age."

Nutritionists agreed taking soda out of schools isn't the only answer.

"We don't have that child for 24 hours a day," noted Pat Brooks, Columbia Public Schools nutritionist, "and they bring their food preferences with them."

Soft drink companies said they will make the soda changes in three-fourths of U.S. public schools by the 2008-09 academic year, and the rest one year later.

The Columbia district already has eliminated soft drinks in elementary schools, and officials said they will start a student wellness program Friday that is more strict than what Coke and Pepsi will do.

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