Even though the effects of a sedentary lifestyle and diet consisting of mostly commercially produced, processed foods is most visible in the United States, consequences of a declining quality of food and reduced access to fresh foods affect human health all over the world.
An article on the South Korean government’s decision to restrict junk food advertising aimed at children pointed out that obesity has reached epidemic proportions around the world, with at least 2.6 million people dying each year as a result of being overweight or obese. In the U.S., these statistics have an uncomfortaby young face, as nearly one in every three kids in America is overweight or obese.
In response to demands from parents and activists that food and beverage companies not offer kids products linked to childhood obesity and other health complications, soft drink giant PepsiCo has announced that it will voluntarily remove high-calorie sweetened drinks from schools for kids up to age 18 in more than 200 countries by 2012.
But some are skeptical that this recent move is purely altruistic or that it will have visible effects in the United States. After all both Pepsi and Coca Cola stopped selling their sodas in American schools 4 years ago.
PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi said: “… we have programs under way with school authorities in several countries to [promote the health of students]. This includes restoring or expanding physical education and promoting nutrition education. This global policy will serve as an important part of that mission, by expanding our offerings of low-calorie and nutritious beverages.”
The company says its new global school beverage policy continues its commitment to reducing calories in schools by offering students a wider range of low-calorie and nutritious beverages in appropriate portions.
Coke announced this month it won’t sell sugared drinks in primary schools worldwide unless asked, but it is not matching Pepsi’s move for high schools. “We believe school authorities should have the right to choose what is best for their schools,” says spokeswoman Crystal Warwell Walker (USA Today).
Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons - moriza