Health Concerns Prompt New Soda Policy at Schools - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/13/03

Health Concerns Prompt New Soda Policy at Schools

"They're still going to drink something, just not a carbonated drink," said LISD Official Art Martin, commenting on a new state-wide policy targeting vending machines and their role in the battle of the bulge.

With a national increase in childhood obesity, and a startling jump in diabetes, school systems are back-peddling to promote health. When school starts next week, soda machines will no longer be available to kindergarten through 6th grade. In junior high, the sale of soft drinks will no longer be for sale at lunch time. In high school however, sales will continue as they did last year.

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Over the past 20 years, the number of overweight and obese children has doubled. With physicians placing blame on parents who set a poor example by never exercising, children who sit sedentary for hours watching television and playing video games, and diets that consist of fast food and snacks. "So, there is an issue with health," said Martin.

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But the LISD also has to worry about finances. The school district makes almost $500,000 a year off of vending machines. Officials remain confidant that students will fill the soda gap with sales of juices and water. "Rright now, we're thinking it's not going to be a big impact," said Martin.

This new vending machine policy is not just limited to Lubbock, it is a statewide effort.

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