Keeping Soda Out of Schools Doesn’t Matter, So Do This Instead
In 2010, 14 states banned soda in school vending machines and 19 states banned it from school cafeterias.
Why limit sodas in schools? Because sodas are linked to lots of health problems and nutritionists say growing bodies don’t need them. And today, 17 percent of kids and teens are obese, a number that’s growing. At the same time, about 13 percent of teens’ total calories come from sodas and sweetened drinks.
But recently University of Illinois researchers discovered that even when sodas aren’t allowed in vending machines or cafeterias, school kids are getting their sugary drinks anyway.
Why? First, lots of schools left a loophole: they got rid of soda but kept other drinks like sports drinks, sugared fruit drinks and other sugary beverages. Kids bought those instead and got as much sugar as schools where soda wasn’t banned.
Second, researchers found that kids at the schools that banned ALL sugary drinks still managed in their personal time to drink as many sugary beverages as kids at schools without bans.
So how can we get teens to cut down on sugary drinks when they are so easy to get?
Well, of course we like to think that any teen that tries True Lemon, True Orange, True Lime or True Grapefruit in a water bottle or seltzer will quit drinking soda and sports drinks forever just because our all-natural taste is so fabulous!
But researchers in Baltimore (True Citrus’ hometown!) recently discovered another way to get kids off the sugary drinks. Believe it or not, they just put this sign on the soda case in the four neighborhood stores that were included in the study:
“Did you know that working off a bottle of soda or fruit juice takes about 50 minutes of running?"
Having that sign on the soda cases reduced the likelihood of teens going ahead and buying the drinks by nearly half. WOW!
The researchers also tried these signs:
"Did you know that a bottle of soda or fruit juice has about 250 calories?" and "Did you know that a bottle of soda or fruit juice has about 10% of your daily calories?
But those didn’t have much effect at all.
Maybe this points the way not only to getting kids to drink better, but also maybe to better eating for all of us. Instead of restaurants including calorie counts on their menus, they could maybe list next how much running we’d have to do to work off each dish. That way we’d all be more mindful of how much we’re eating!
Tagged in: Keeping It Real