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Madison, WI – Lisa Harmon, President of the Wisconsin Beverage Association, today announced that the organization has voted to adopt a new American Beverage Association (ABA) policy recommendation that seeks to make available more nutritious and lower-calorie beverages in school vending machines. The new policy was approved on August 16 by the ABA’s Board of Directors to demonstrate the beverage industry’s commitment to do its part to help reduce childhood obesity in America.
“This bold new policy will benefit thousands of school children throughout Wisconsin,” said Harmon. “We are proud to associate ourselves with this new policy, and we urge all of our members to work closely with local school officials to implement it as soon as possible.”
The new policy encourages producers and school districts to provide:
· Only water and 100 percent juice to elementary school students.
· Only nutritious and/or lower calorie beverages to middle school students, such as water, 100 percent juice, sports drinks, no-calorie soft drinks, dairy-based beverages and low-calorie juice drinks. No full-calorie soft drinks or full-calorie juice drinks with five percent or less juice until after school hours.
· A variety of beverage choices to high school students, such as water, dairy-based beverages, sports drinks, 100 percent juice, and juice drinks. No more than 50 percent of the vending selections will be soft drinks.
Already, the ABA school vending policy has received an overwhelmingly positive response from parents across the country. According to a nationwide survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, 81 percent of the more than 1,000 adults polled – 500 of whom were parents of pre-school through 12th grade children – favored the new proposal.
“Our members meet face to face with parents, school officials and community leaders, and we have heard firsthand their concerns about childhood obesity,” Harmon said. “Because we value these important relationships, we will continue to work closely with them to do what is best for our young people, and this new policy is a good example.”
“For years, our industry has encouraged children to stay physically active and maintain a well-balanced diet,” Harmon said. “Having more healthy beverages to choose from at school is another demonstration of our commitment to healthy, happy kids.”