Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that more than 95 percent of schools now meet the nutrition standards for schools made possible by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
We congratulate schools for embracing guidelines that can improve meals served to the nation’s schoolchildren. Not only did the beverage industry support these guidelines, its companies volunteered nearly 10 years ago to develop and implement guidelines that have had a pretty significant impact.
We promised parents in 2006 that we would change the beverage mix in schools by removing full-calorie sodas from all schools and replace them with a range of lower-calorie, smaller-portion choices. The industry’s School Beverage Guidelines were developed with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a non-profit group that helps kids develop lifelong healthy habits.
We made this commitment voluntarily, without laws or regulations, because we agreed that schools are unique places where parents want greater control over what their children eat and drink. The Guidelines went into effect in 2010 and the result is that beverage calories in schools declined by 90 percent.
Our School Beverage Guidelines were eventually made the basis for the beverage component of what is now allowed in our nation’s schools.
America’s beverage companies have always been responsive to the people and the communities we’ve been working in for decades, some for more than 100 years. The people who work for our companies live in these same communities too, and their children go to school there.
That’s why we committed to the School Beverage Guidelines in the first place and also why America’s leading beverage companies came together recently to launch Mixify™, an initiative with a social media campaign designed to teach teenagers the importance of balancing what they eat and drink with what they do. Things like this will have real impact for our children.