Fat City: What’s fueling America’s obesity crisis?

In 2002, people drank nearly 49 million gallons of soda (185 million liters), making it the third most popular commercial beverage after milk and tea. The typical bottling plant churns out over 79,250 gallons of soda per day. Here in the U.S., as annual soda consumption doubled to 49 gallons per person between 1970 and 2001, milk consumption fell by 30 percent. National “cruel” lunch program In light of exploding rates of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes, school nutrition has become a growing public health concern. While most meals offered as part of the federal school lunch and breakfast programs may be relatively less unhealthy than the offerings available outside of the school cafeteria, “These school food programs compete against the widely available and aggressively advertised fast food, soft drink, and snack foods that fill vending machines, school stores, and a la carte cafeteria lines,” wrote the Urban and Environmental Policy Institute (UEPI) in a September 2002 report entitled Challenging the Soda Companies (1). Many of the “same schools that offer health and nutrition education in the classroom are undercutting their own lessons by filling their hallways with chip and soda-dispensing vending machines,” noted the UEPI. [Adapted from an article that originally appeared in Total Health magazine]

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