Saturday, January 12, 2008

Looking in the mirror at its teeth, W.Va. putting more limits on sugary drinks, snacks in schools

West Virginia's school board approved a nutrition policy Thursday that would ban from schools drinks with caffeine, and those with more than 200 calories, 200 milligrams of sodium or35 percent sugar (excluding fruit).Earlier in the week, a legislative committee recommended "that the state ban all soft drinks and sugary snacks" from schools, reports Davin White of The Charleston Gazette.

"After learning recently how bad residents’ oral health has become, the legislators believe the ban also could decrease obesity rates in addition to improving dental health in the Mountain State," writes Shelley Hanson of The Intelligencer in Wheeling.

The school board's policy would also "nearly ban all trans fat [and] limit saturated fat to less than 10 percent of total calories," White reports. "The policy, which goes into effect July 1, would not keep students from bringing in soft drinks they bought at a convenience or grocery store."

The legislative proposal is expected to face opposition from lobbyists for the soft-drink industry, and even from some educators. "Some high-school principals also enjoy the revenue that soft drink sales bring their schools," White notes. "During the school day, middle and elementary school students already cannot buy caffeine and sugary soft drinks." (Read more)

The legislative committee pushing the bill also called for creation of a state Office of Oral Health. "The office would be charged with promoting better oral health throughout West Virginia, including supporting efforts to require dental inspection for students in elementary school," The Intelligencer reports. "According to the Centers for Disease Control, 61.4 percent of adults across West Virginia visited dentists in 2006, down from 62.5 percent in 2004. The state ranks 47th, with only three states reporting fewer visits: Oklahoma, Mississippi and Arkansas." (Read more)

No comments: