Late last week, the Los Angeles Times printed an interesting article on a slew of bills introduced in the California Senate to address teen health and safety.

In addition to a bill that would ban sports drinks from high schools, other legislation has been introduced that aims to ban aluminum bats at baseball games.  These come on the heels of another bill which has a goal to ban toys in happy meals!

The beverage industry also cares about our nation's children.  We understand that childhood obesity is a serious problem and a concern for many parents.  And we recognize that schools are special places.  In fact, our industry's School Beverage Guidelines have dramatically reduced the number of calories available to children and teens throughout the school day.  The guidelines are common-sense and backed by parents, teachers and other community leaders.

But legislation like the proposal to ban sports drinks in high schools seems a bit over the top for teenagers who are exposed to a world of choices as they enter high school and, among other significant milestones, are learning to drive. How can we best prepare them to make the right choice?  We at Sip & Savor believe that, with some guidance from parents, giving them the tools to make dietary decisions that are best for them is a good start.

When it comes to sports drinks, they clearly have a functional place in schools.  In fact, studies show that 53 percent of high school students participate in interscholastic sports before, during and after schools, and sports drinks provide a functional benefit necessary for students to add energy and absorb fluids efficiently.

Just as high school brings a range of options for sport and exercise, so also are increased options for food and beverages to quench thirst and satisfy hunger.  Many studies have proven that adolescents who get the proper amount of physical activity in high schools are more likely make exercise a part of their adult life, too.  Nutrition education, proper physical activity and a balanced diet is the key to healthy living.  And allowing choice in the school environment is appropriate for teens that are learning how to best care for their body.