California bans soda and junk food in public schools
September 02, 2005
by Keith Nunes
SACRAMENTO, CALIF. — Passage of two bills will mean wholesale changes to California’s school nutrition environment as sodas and junk foods are banned. The passage by California Assembly of SB 965 banned soda sales on high school campuses, while the passage of SB 12 banned the sale of junk food in all public K-12 schools by creating rigorous nutritional standards.
Both bills restrict the sale of soda and junk food 30 minutes before campuses open and 30 minutes after they close. The timing allows for the sale of soda and junk food after hours, during sporting events or other functions.
"California has done more to promote healthy eating for students than at any other point in our state’s history," said Dr. Harold Goldstein, director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy (C.C.P.H.A.). "We’ve reclaimed schools as institutions of education, rather than as marketplaces for junk food and soda vendors."
The two bills follow release of a study that showed a 6% increase in the rate of overweight children throughout the state. The study by C.C.P.H.A. found that 28.1% of children were overweight, with increases for every ethnicity, age and gender group studied.
"While well-intentioned, the California Assembly’s passage of SB 965 is unfortunate," said Susan K. Neely, president of the American Beverage Association, Washington. "Unlike younger children who may need the guidance of an adult to help them make choices, parents tell us they believe high school-age children have the ability to make informed choices, and should have a wider range of beverage choices available to them. This legislation, however, removes that ability by restricting beverages sold in high schools, including low-calorie juices and diet soft drinks."
This past June, New Jersey banned the sale of junk food, soda and candy on school grounds starting with the 2007-08 school year. The Model School Nutrition Policy will apply to all public, private and parochial schools in which 5% or more of the students participate in the federal Child Nutrition Program.