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The Soft Drink Industry: Putting Money Before Children's Health

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posted on Sep, 23 2005 @ 03:39 PM
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The Children of the world are in trouble.
Weight gain, poor nutrition, and lack of exercise are destroying our youths health. There are many things in our societies that contribute to this. Many things are to blame, from Fast food to Video games to parenting. I would like to take this time to focus on the Soft Drink Industry and how they take advantage of young people and put profit before health. They are in fact selling a product that can kill its customers.

First lets look at the Soft Drink related health problems that are affecting youth today.
Obesity in kids is now epidemic in America. The number of children who are overweight has doubled in the last three decades. Right now one in five children are overweight. With the overweight body will usually come diabetes and many other health problems. In the past 15 years type 2 diabetes has increased significantly in children.

How much sugar filled soda are kids drinking anyway?
Lots! While in Adults Soft Drink consumption is down, kids consumption is up. Boys between 13 and 18 are drinking an average of 2 cans of pop a day. That works out to be 18 teaspoons of sugar.

So why are young people drinking so much?
The reason is that Soft drinks are being marketed towards them. Children see 40,000 advertisements on TV every year. Very young children can not distinguish between a commercial and regular programing. Coca-Cola has a $1.6 billion annual advertising budget. Not all of Coke's advertising goes to TV ads either.

For girls


For boys


For all the good girls and boys.

Coke also targets its older young audience as well



Children are being brain washed by the Soft Drink industry and with out fast action by parents at an early age, these children will be lost. When young people are old enough to buy things on their own they don't care to look at labels. They only know that they have been drinking the stuff for as long as they can remember.





Links:
www.nih.gov...
www.beyondhealth.com...
www.sciencedaily.com...
www.healthmatters.org.uk...www.cbc.ca...
www.hsph.harvard.edu...
Soda Cans May Soon Have Warnings Like Cigarette Packs.
www.dietitian.com...
www.commercialfreechildhood.org...
www.fair.org...




posted on Sep, 23 2005 @ 07:42 PM
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I agree that the marketing ethics are virtually nonexistant...

...but at the same time, parents have got to start parenting their kids.

That means:

Not saying "yes" every time a child screams, rants or begs for soda/chocolate/whatever.

Encouraging 'em to drink other products. Water...real fruit juice...milk.

Educating their kids, too.

Parents hold the keys to this one.



posted on Sep, 23 2005 @ 10:18 PM
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Originally posted by Tinkleflower
Encouraging 'em to drink other products. Water...real fruit juice...milk.

Educating their kids, too.

Parents hold the keys to this one


I would agree. There seems to be too much parenting by proxy these days. No you cannot keep tabs on them 24/7 but you can do what you can at home and educate your kids on smart choices.



posted on Sep, 23 2005 @ 10:36 PM
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Agreed, obesity and type II diabetes age a massively growing problem in our youth today and these tactics are a contributing factor.

As a sidenote, I got a chuckle imagining the stage director motioning to Paula to keep her logo facing the camera.



posted on Sep, 25 2005 @ 12:22 PM
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Of coarse anytime we are talking about problems with children, parenting must be addressed. I believe that if parents don't allow their small children to drink any of these soft drink beverages then there are better chances they wont grow up to drink the stuff.
But when a child reaches the age of 13 or so they are making many more decisions for themselves. They will most likely have their own money and be able to buy whatever they like. The statistic is that boys between 13 and 18 are drinking an average of 2 cans of pop a day. Many schools have coke machines. When these students are at school with their own money they are able to buy what ever drink they want. Sure, they may of been raised not to drink soda but brands like coca-cola are burned into the minds of young people. The Coca-Cola logo is the most recognized logo on the planet. You can go anywhere in the world and people will know the coca-cola logo. With that kind of exposure it is impossible for young people to 'get away' from it.

Good parenting can only go so far.



posted on Sep, 25 2005 @ 12:44 PM
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I think this idea hits a whole deeper issue; teaching children to think for themselves, as opposed to doing that which the marketing world tries to betroth them. For example, I'm 16, and last year I decided to stop drinking soda. Sure, I have one every once in a while, but it's very rare.

But the soda/fast food industry (I call it the "unhealth industry) is quite to blame as well. They purely lack a conscience, like many other industries out there.

*cough* Philip Morris *cough*



posted on Sep, 25 2005 @ 12:44 PM
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I only have two examples really (as I don't have kids).

Both sisters have raised their children (7 between 'em) in the "no pop" and "no candy" method. That is to say...a bar of chocolate once a week wasn't going to kill them, and neither was one can of pop, but other than that both were a no-no.

And all of 'em have grown to be teenagers (and adults...yes, I feel old!) who honestly, truly do prefer fruit juice to pop, and don't crave chocolate. Half of 'em actually still prefer dried fruit to candy as a snack.

Then again, they're in England...the laws governing who can provide food/drink in schools (and to what extent they can advertise) are probably quite different.

Anyway - it can be done.

It's not easy, but if you give your kids the right tools, they can make sensible choices themselves, to an enormous extent. And what better way to say "no" to these corporations than by teaching our kids to make better choices?



posted on Sep, 25 2005 @ 03:38 PM
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Originally posted by iceofspades
But the soda/fast food industry (I call it the "unhealth industry) is quite to blame as well. They purely lack a conscience, like many other industries out there.

*cough* Philip Morris *cough*


Funny you mention that.



Coca-Cola 'acting like big tobacco' Beverages
The holidays always promise redemption and hope: and just maybe Coca-Cola will drop their “Big Tobacco” strategies in favor of the moral high-ground. When faced with damning truths, big tobacco has relied on obfuscation, bogus science and deep-pocketed PR campaigns. Coca-Cola, stung by criticism that they too are merchants of immoral marketing aimed at children and unethically denying the health risks of their sugar water is fighting back: as if manufacturing pseudo science will provide a smokescreen?

Barbara Beck, principal manager of scientific and regulatory affairs at Coca-Cola suggested that I “misinformed” readers in an article titled, “Sugar Wars” (first carried by the Common Dreams website.) She forward a letter (7/21/04) to EducationNews.org (which also carried the article) complaining that the article was flawed in three areas: soft drinks do not cause obesity, soft drinks do not cause osteoporosis and finally, there is no data to link soft drink consumption to diabetes!

Apparently, Coca-Cola emboldened by their enormous wealth and power with a net income of $674 million and net operating revenue of over $17 billion in 2003, believes that corporate spin and relentless repetition of mistruths can bury any critics. When corporate captains feel the need to respond to the critics, they expose their capitalistic “Achilles tendon” or should we say, let’s crush anything or anyone who gets in the way of profit making. As a teacher and father of two, I am sickened by the assault on public schools by the likes of Coca-Cola and their “exclusive pouring contracts.” Just look at Coca-Cola’s own view of schools: 'The school system is where you build brand loyalty.' - John Alm, president and chief operating officer, Coca-Cola Enterprises.

news.agendainc.com...



Here is a quote from coca-colabottling



Can soft drinks be part of a healthy diet?
Soft drinks contribute to the diet in two ways. Because they are predominantly water, they can help quench thirst and meet the body's fluid requirement...
Should I be concerned about the amount of sugar or calories in soft drinks?
It may surprise you to know that the amount of sugar and calories in soft drinks is about the same as many fruit juices...
Does sugar make children hyperactive?
Definitely not...


Sounds similar to how Big tobacco said smoking isn't addictive.



posted on Sep, 25 2005 @ 04:05 PM
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Wow, I'm actually amazed you didn't even mention Caffeine. Lets not forget thats another main ingredient in soda, not to mention the high fructose which slows metabolism thus causing weight gaine when taken in excess. I agree though, since soda first came out and tried to use coc aine in their product, they found it was much to powerfull to be in a simple drink so they had to find a substitute. Caffeine may not have a huge affect on a person but it does have an affect on the subconcious. It's what is causing many people to have sleeping trouble and may even affect the way you cope with daily life. I have found that they have been increasing the dosage ammount of caffeine in sodas slowly over the years though, and they've been easily getting away with it.



posted on Sep, 25 2005 @ 04:30 PM
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Caffeine is a problem here also. It actually has major effects on children.

Caffeine can cause jitteriness and nervousness, upset stomach, headaches, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping, increased heart rate, and increased blood pressure.
These things lead to major health problems and problems learning.
kidshealth.org...

What I'm trying to get at here is that Soft drinks are dangerously effecting young peoples health and the industry is targeting these kids.



posted on Sep, 25 2005 @ 06:16 PM
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It's called bad parenting and the need to blame others and not take responsibility for the welfare of your own kids.... Stop blaming society and look in the mirror people....



posted on Sep, 26 2005 @ 11:42 AM
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I don't think anyone here dismisses the parenting factor. This thread is posted about the ethics of the soft-drink industry. Please read our posts.


I would like to bring to everyones attention the organization called the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH)

By only the name of the organization they sound like they must be a group that is concerned with the health of Americans. Here is a quote from their web site.


The self-appointed nutrition-nanny organization, the Ralph Nader-inspired Center for Science in the Public Interest, this week proclaimed that sodas -- both sugar-sweetened and diet versions -- pose a health hazard, particularly to children. The report "Liquid Candy: How Soft Drinks Are Harming America's Health" charges that soda consumption increases the risks of diseases ranging from heart disease to tooth decay, osteoporosis, cancer, obesity, and poor nutrition.


Why slam the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)? They only seem to be looking out for our health...


Soft drinks and dental caries: It is the sticky sugars in food, not sugared liquids, that are particularly important in promoting tooth decay. Parents concerned about preventing tooth decay should (in addition to insisting on fluoridated water and professional fluoride treatments) be aware of the impact foods such as raisins and dates can have in promoting tooth decay -- if consumption is not followed by tooth brushing.


Huh? Wait a sec. Drinking soft drinks is ok, but eating natural foods like raisins and dates is bad?



Soda and obesity: Soft drinks do not contribute to obesity any more than any other source of calories does.


Well it does when boys are getting an average of 19 teaspoons of sugar a day from soft drinks. Imagine putting 8 spoons of sugar in your coffee in the morning.



The bottom line in pondering soft drinks in the context of good nutrition and health is this: soda is mainly water -- and thus a good means of hydration.


A can of 8 teaspoons of sugar with caffeine is a good means if hydration? Give me a break.

This is Disinformation.

American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) is funded by:

Procter & Gamble
Sugar Association
Exxon
Hershey Foods Corp Fund
Coca-Cola
Burger King
Coors
Pepsi-Cola and Pepsico
Nestle
Frito-Lay
and many more www.mindfully.org...



ACHS is not interested in peoples health, they are interested in making you buy its funding partners products.


Do not buy this disinformation.



posted on Sep, 28 2005 @ 10:39 AM
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I found some excerpts from a book written by leading authors on health, food marketing and food politics.

They can be seen here www.newstarget.com....

"In 1997 children spent nearly $8 billion of their own money on food and beverages, of which $1 billion each went for sweets and soft drinks. The amounts spent on food increase with age; in 1997, children aged 7-12 spent $2.3 billion of discretionary money on snacks and beverages, teenagers $58 billion."

"Soft drink companies unapologetically name 8-to-12-year-olds as marketing targets. Advertisers encourage marketing directed to 9-year-olds as a logical consequence of the fact that children -- and girls in particular -- are maturing earlier."

"Coca-Cola company, for example, sends multiple copies of "Coke cards" to "teen influentials" -- school officers, cheerleaders, and sports participants -- expecting that they will pass the extras along to their network of friends. These "educational" counting books and puzzles for young children require the use of cereals or cookies as tokens, provide discount coupons to encourage adults to purchase these products, and advertise the food throughout. These convert children into advertisers as well as consumers of soft drinks. "



Those Coke cards are totally marketed to teens.in '98 Coca-cola spent $75 million on the campaign. They were sent out nationally at the beginning of the summer (no school). Bottlers signed up schools for a contest that had teens devise the best way to distribute cards.
promomagazine.com...

In Hawaii coke tested a loyalty program using school lunch cards. Students earn points for eating in the cafeteria and for buying Coke.


With thing like this happening in Schools it is no wonder young people are becoming so unhealthy.

Bad parenting? Ha! Try telling a high school student they can't spend their money on soda pop at school.

You really have to start early with children and start good habits so when they are old enough they will make good health choices. However the bombardment of advertising from soft drink companies makes this a very difficult task.

Parents also need to make a stand and keep the soft drink industry out of the schools.
Enough is enough.



posted on Sep, 28 2005 @ 10:45 AM
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Umbrax,

You might be interested in this



Foods high in fat, salt or sugar are to be banned from meals and vending machines in English schools. The ban, from next September, has been announced by Education Secretary Ruth Kelly at the Labour Party conference.

Vending machines in schools will not be allowed to sell chocolates, crisps or fizzy drinks, Ms Kelly announced


Good news, isn't it?


Do you think the US might actually follow suit at some point?



posted on Sep, 28 2005 @ 11:33 AM
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Thats great Tinkleflower!

With a photo of the Prime minister and everything
. I've found that politicians rarely go against 'Big Sugar' and the soft drink industry. Really it is all about public awareness, that is where the ball gets rolling and finally the government will step in to make change.

In The U.S. Ralph Nader and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has been working on getting things done like putting warning labels on soda cans. Personally I don't think that will help much. It will pinch the soft drink companies, but that age group doesn't read labels anyway...
Soda Cans May Soon Have Warnings Like Cigarette Packs.

Doctors and Schools are trying to get a soft drink ban but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been protecting the Soft Drink Industry's profits.
The soft drink lobby is very powerful in Washington, and many current FDA employees come straight from the food and beverage industry.
www.newstarget.com...

Here in Canada, Montreal documentary filmmaker Brian McKenna, has made an excellent documentary called Big Sugar. The CBC aired part one and two on these past Tuesday nights. It's worth checking out if it comes your way.

www.langfieldentertainment.com...
In Canada's Elementary and middle schools soft drinks are banned.



posted on Sep, 28 2005 @ 11:33 AM
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Originally posted by Tinkleflower
I agree that the marketing ethics are virtually nonexistant...

...but at the same time, parents have got to start parenting their kids.

That means:

Not saying "yes" every time a child screams, rants or begs for soda/chocolate/whatever.

Encouraging 'em to drink other products. Water...real fruit juice...milk.

Educating their kids, too.

Parents hold the keys to this one.



HALLELUJAH!


As Tinkleflower stated so well, there are basically no ethics in marketing, but this is not the big problem.

It's time for some parents to stop blaming society and start taking responsibility!

Today it seems that everyone is to blame for the way kids turn out, except for the parents, when in reality parents deserve the majority of the blame. Do I think this removes all blame from the rest of society? NO. But when I see/hear about kids running amok or having major issues, I don't see a societal failure, I see a parenting failure.

I can't resist throwing in a final, similar idea: instead of demanding censorship of TV, etc to protect your kids, get off your lazy butt and turn the damn thing off! Get involved in your kids lives!

Your kids are your responsibility, not society's.

edited for format

[edit on 28-9-2005 by Jaryn]



posted on Sep, 28 2005 @ 11:40 AM
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Parents can hardly keep kids from drinking sodas at schools...

Still, why not a win/win idea for schools (elementary and middle) and soft drink makers?

How?

Simple!

Soft drink makers usually also make sports drinks, fruit juice drinks, bottled water, etc.

Why not sell THAT in schools!!!???

The soda companies get their revenue, the schools get theirs, and our kids get healthier.

How is this so difficult???

In high school, soda machines should be permitted, as this is the time many are making choices for themselves on such issues.



posted on Sep, 28 2005 @ 12:05 PM
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Originally posted by Jaryn

Your kids are your responsibility, not society's.



Parents must be responsible and do their best to take care of their children's health. I don't think anyone would disagree. This however is not what I'm trying to show everyone.

The soft drink industry is marketing directly to children. They are spreading disinformation about it's product. And they are pushing their product in schools.
Should this be allowed? Tinkleflower has shown the UK taking action about this issue. While in America the FDA, who should be looking out for children's health, is actually protecting the soft drink industry.


Gazrok,
I think that is a good idea for schools. Actually in my daughter's elementary school there is a machine that sells water, apple and orange juice. Coke still makes a profit and the kids aren't hopped up on sugar and caffeine.

Really though, soft drinks are not sold for profit in schools. Schools only make for a small percent of their total profit. The machines are there for advertising more than anything.

I think you are right to say that in High school kids should start making their own choices. However, I think there needs to be some education here, and companies like Coke should not be allowed to run incentives to buy more Coke.



posted on Sep, 28 2005 @ 12:22 PM
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Originally posted by Umbrax
The soft drink industry is marketing directly to children. They are spreading disinformation about it's product. And they are pushing their product in schools.
Should this be allowed? Tinkleflower has shown the UK taking action about this issue. While in America the FDA, who should be looking out for children's health, is actually protecting the soft drink industry.


If we start with this, where do we stop...it reminds me of that stupid Stalone movie, "Demolition Man" and a quote that I found interesting (describing the laws in their 'wonderful' new society):
"[A]nything not good for you is bad, hence, illegal. Alcohol, caffeine, contact sports, meat . . ."

This is not what our society is supposed to be about! Maybe I am just too old to see things the way the younger generation does, but I can't understand the ideas of 'I don't like this, so it should be illegal' or 'that's bad for you so it should be illegal'.

Anyway, with that said, I think I will go smoke a cigarette, drink some coffee with lots of sugar, chase it with a Coke, eat some read meat and wash it down with a shot and leave this debate to the rest of you.

P.S. - God bless Google...only took me a few seconds to find that quote



posted on Sep, 30 2005 @ 12:47 PM
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Following up on Tinkleflower's post regarding schools banning junk food.


news.bbc.co.uk...

What do you think of school junk food ban?
What do you think of the ban on foods high in fat, salt or sugar from school vending machines and meals?

The ban will start next September, Education Secretary Ruth Kelly has announced at the Labour Party conference.

The School Meals Review Panel, set up after a campaign to improve schools meals by TV chef Jamie Oliver, is next week to announce nutritional standards that will be compulsory in schools.

What's in your school vending machine? What would you like to see in it? What are your school meals like? Send us your comments


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


You can go to BBC's web site and let them know how you feel about the junk food ban.



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