April 12, 2013

Another View: School didn't do its homework before soda fundraiser

While well intentioned, students ignored health warnings about overindulging on sugary drinks.

By DUDLEY GREELEY

After seven years and a million discretionary beverage purchases ("Gorham kids collect one million pull tabs for suffering families," April 5), a well-meaning community donates $430 to a health care charity. This donation works out to roughly five-hundredths of 1 percent of the cost of the liquid treats -- less than a buck goes to charity for every 2,325 cans purchased. Well-intentioned, yes, but not much of a lesson in generosity.

Unfortunately, such programs also fail to teach good money-management and nutrition skills. Single-serving cans are an expensive and, too often, unhealthy way to get a drink. The Harvard School of Public Health says sugary drinks are "a major contributor to the obesity epidemic" and quotes an analysis published in the medical journal The Lancet that states, "For each additional 12-ounce soda children consumed each day, the odds of becoming obese increased by 60 percent during one years of follow-up."

So why would a public school in Maine, where childhood obesity is a costly epidemic, promote a program that encourages children to consume even more sugary drinks? The administrators must not have done their homework.

Dudley Greeley is a resident of Cumberland.

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