Beverage initiative cutting calories in schools

by Keith Nunes
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WASHINGTON — Implementation of the National School Beverage Guidelines has led to a 41% decline in the calories from beverages shipped to schools nationwide, according to the School Beverage Guidelines Progress Report 2006-2007, published by the American Beverage Association. The report is part of the A.B.A.’s efforts to keep interested parties apprised of how the guidelines’ three-year implementation phase is progressing.

"We’re cutting calories in schools and making wholesale change to the beverage choices in schools across America," said Susan Neely, president and chief executive officer of the A.B.A. "The hard work of our companies and bottlers is already making a real difference reducing the calories that students drink in school."

The report measured beverages shipments to schools during the 2006-2007 school year and then compared them to data from 2004, the year when the last comprehensive review of school beverage data was conducted. In addition to the 41% decline in total calories in all beverages shipped to schools, the report noted there has been a 45% reduction in shipments of full-calorie soft drinks to schools when comparing 2006-2007 to 2004, and 35% of all contracts between bottlers and school districts are in compliance with the guidelines and are on track for the implementation period.

Participants in the program, which include Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages, The Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo, Inc. have committed to removing all full-calorie soft drinks from schools by the 2009-2010 school year.

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