Schoolhouse Rot: Soda May Be Worse Than You Thought

Schoolhouse Rot: Soda May Be Worse Than You
Thought

It turns out that soda pop may do far more damage to kids’ young
bodies than rot their teeth, writes Ronnie Cohen in Mother
Jones’
webzine MoJo Wire. A growing body of
research has linked soft drinks to a host of ailments, including
broken bones, obesity, diabetes, attention-deficit disorder and
addiction.

A recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health ‘found that
ninth and 10th-grade girls who sipped soda were three times more
likely to break bones than those who quenched their thirsts with
other drinks,’ Cohen says. ‘Worse, [the] study found that
physically active girls who drank colas were five times more likely
to break bones as physically active girls who abstained from
carbonated beverages.’

Yet despite this mounting evidence, kids are drinking twice as much
soda now as they did 30 years ago. Cohen blames this increase on
the explosion of exclusive marketing deals between school districts
and soda manufacturers. Cohen quotes a study by the Center for
Commercial-Free Public Education, which estimates that over the
past three years ‘240 school districts in 31 states have sold
exclusive rights to one of the three big soda barons eager to hook
teen-agers on Dr Pepper, Pepsi, or The Real Thing (Coke).’

Cohen elaborates: ‘In one notorious case, a Colorado Springs school
district in 1997 gave Coca-Cola exclusive access to its 30,000
students for a promise of more than $8 million over 10 years. The
catch: The kids needed to gulp at least 70,000 cases of Coke
products in one of the first three contract years. One enthusiastic
school administrator wrote a letter–signing it ‘the Coke
Dude’–urging principals to consider allowing kids unlimited access
to Coke machines.’
–Leif Utne
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