Academy of Pediatrics: Policy Statement on Sugary Beverages
The Academy of Pediatrics Council on School Health, Committee on Nutrition released its policy statement, “Snacks, Sweetened Beverages, Added Sugars and Schools” last month, citing that “high-energy, low-nutrient beverages, in particular, contribute substantial calories but little nutrient content to a student’s diet.”
The policy statement concludes that pediatricians can “influence nutritional quality in schools directly through their participation as parents, as members of the school’s wellness council, as consultants, as sports team physicians, as members of the school board, as community advocates for child nutrition, or through the AAP or their state chapters.”
Further, it includes a number of recommendations, including these, among others:
- “Pediatricians should focus particular attention on counseling families and local school staff about improving the quality of selections brought into schools for packed lunches and snacks, fundraisers, sporting events, in-class parties, and school celebrations. By identifying the attributes of nutrient-rich foods, pediatricians can influence food choices and, at the same time, offer families and schools a practical, holistic perspective on child nutrition.”
- “In schools, pediatricians should consider wellness councils or school health advisory councils as a unique opportunity for influencing student nutrition through collaboration with other professionals invested in child nutrition, especially registered dietitians, school nurses, and school food service directors. Development of policies and practices with the involvement of students and staff can be a potent form of education about quality nutrition.”
AHA has emphasized these concepts over the years through its outreach with schools and advocates as a whole, and through the AHA Brains and Bodies Award criteria. Resources to help schools are available at AHA’s website and also at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation website.