Milk Consumption Up In School

Monday, October 29th 2007, 8:37 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Students in Oklahoma City Public Schools are buying more milk and fewer sodas after a new law went into effect designed to reduce soda consumption. Students drank about 4.5 million cartons of milk during the in fiscal year that ended June 30, accounting for nearly 92% of all drinks sold in schools. They drank about 41,500 more cartons of milks than in fiscal year 2006, according to data from the school district.

At the same time, students in Oklahoma City Public Schools are drinking fewer carbonated beverages, which come out of vending machines stocked by Great Plains Bottling Co.

About 300,000 sodas were sold in vending machines in 2007, a number down from about 386,000 the year before. Sales data from vending machines may include purchases by parents or other school visitors.

Overall, 107,000 fewer drinks were bought from school vending machines in fiscal year 2007 compared to 2006. However, about 50,000 more drinks were purchased by Chartwells, which provides the cafeteria items.

The cost of nondiet sodas went up districtwide this year to encourage students to choose healthier options.

A regular soda costs $1.25; diet sodas, sports drinks, lemonade and water cost $1; and juice costs 75 cents, said William Beatty, a senior at the Classen School of Advanced Studies who drank a can of Welch's with his lunch.

The price change is in part a result of Oklahoma Senate Bill 265, which said that as of July 2007, foods of no or low nutritional value are prohibited in elementary and middle schools. High School students must be given price incentives to buy healthier options.

Scott Randall, chief financial officer for the district, said Oklahoma City schools undertook a program to promote healthy choices before the law went into effect.

The district told Great Plains Bottling Company, which supplies vending machine drinks, that they want the machines to be compliant with the law. Great Plains has shown the district what products go into the machines and even how much space in the machines is allotted for water and other drinks, Randall said.

``We've made clear it's the district's desire to provide healthy choices,'' he said.