In response to the online publication of a paper published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, "Banning All Sugar-Sweetened Beverages in Middle Schools: Reduction of In-School Access and Purchasing but Not Overall Consumption," Susan K. Neely, president and chief executive officer of the American Beverage Association, issued the following statement:


"By looking at data from 2004 and 2007, this study ignores the dramatic changes in the school beverage landscape achieved by our industry over the last five years, making it effectively useless. In fact, by offering only juice, low-fat milk and water in elementary and middle schools, with the addition of lower-calorie and portion-controlled beverages in high schools, the signatory companies drove an 88 percent reduction in beverage calories shipped to schools since 2004. President Clinton called this ‘breathtaking progress' and applauded industry for its' ‘good faith and aggressiveness' in implementing the guidelines."

Additional Background Information:

On Beverages in Schools:

We recognize that schools are unique places where parents want greater control over what their children eat and drink. That is why we developed the School Beverage Guidelines with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which was founded in 2005 by the American Heart Association and William J. Clinton Foundation. The guidelines, which removed full-calorie soft drinks from all schools across America and replaced them with more lower-calorie, smaller-portion options, are part of a broader effort to teach children about the importance of a balanced diet and exercise. Under the voluntary Guidelines, only juice, low-fat milk and water are allowed in elementary and middle schools, with the addition of lower-calorie and portion-controlled beverages in high schools. Industry announced the successful implementation of the guidelines at a press conference with former President Clinton on March 8, 2010. President Clinton stated, "I applaud the beverage industry for working with us, and for the good faith and aggressiveness they've shown in implementing these guidelines across the country." Through this effort, calories from beverages shipped to schools nationwide have been slashed by a dramatic 88 percent since 2004. The School Beverage Guidelines are a national standard that is in place and working, and we support making them federal law as part of an overall effort to address all foods and beverages sold in schools.

On the Paper:

This paper looks at specific data sets from a nationally representative longitudinal study. However, those data sets are representative of 2004, prior to the development of industry's School Beverage Guidelines, and 2007, several years prior to their successful implementation. It is also important to recognize that the data collected was self-reported by eighth grade students. In addition, the students were asked only if they had purchased or consumed "soda pop, sports drinks, or fruit drinks that are not 100% fruit juice." They were not asked to quantify the amount of beverages they consumed, or, for example, if they were purchased after school hours or at an event with parental supervision. Thus, this data does not provide any true insight on whether or not that consumption could be considered appropriate.

On Providing Choice and Information to Consumers:

The beverage industry cut the total amount of beverage calories produced for the marketplace by 21 percent from 1998 to 2008, due in part to industry's innovation in providing more zero- and low-calorie and smaller-portion beverage choices. With Clear on Calories, America's leading beverage companies came together through a voluntary commitment to put clear and consumer-friendly calorie information on the front of every bottle, can and pack they produce. By putting calorie information right up front on our packaging, our industry is making it easier for people to make informed choices about the beverages that are best for themselves and their families.

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The American Beverage Association is the trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute non-alcoholic beverages in the United States. For more information on ABA, please visit the association's Web site at or call the ABA communications team at (202) 463-6770.