By Deborah Condon
Soft drinks should not be allowed in schools, as they can increase the risk of serious health problems, such as obesity and poor dental health, experts have warned.
According to the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP), parents, teachers and health professionals need to be aware of the serious health effects associated with a high intake of soft drinks in schools.
The consumption of such drinks has increased dramatically in the last two decades. Recent figures from the World Health Organisation stated that over 60% of Irish children consume one can (330ml) of soft drink every 24 hours.
"Each can of sweetened soft drink contains the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories and is associated with a 60% increased risk of obesity. In addition to the extra calories, soft drinks pose a major risk of dental caries (cavities) because of their sugar content and of enamel erosion because of their acidity", said Dr Lean O'Flaherty of the National Dairy Council.
In a policy statement, the AAP said that sweetened drinks should be 'eliminated' from schools and that children, parents and teachers should be educated about the consequences of soft drink consumption.
Children should also be offered more healthy alternatives, such as water and fresh fruit juice, the Academy added.
Many of the teachers in our school are unaware of the damaging consequences of soft drink consumption. As a result of a majority staff vote a coke machine was installed some years ago.
I think soft drinks should definitely be banned from schools. Drinks such as Coke contain so much caffeine, it's no wonder that kids are so hyper-active and badly behaved. Not to mention all the food colourings (which have been proven to cause problems in certain individuals) and other chemicals. Whatever happened to good, natural fruit juices? If Ireland had a good range of fruit jiuces like other countries, maybe kids would be more likely to drink them instead of a can of artificial chemicals. I see kids drinking cans of Coke and eating a bag of crisps on their way to school in the morning - what kind of breakfast is that? Their parents obviously haven't got a clue.
Yes, they should be banned from school becuase of the sugar content. Minerla water and a certain amount of fruit juice should be available. What astounds me is that children have the70 or 0 cent it takes to buy cans of coke every day. They don't havea job so obviously its parents who are responsiblefor this