“Bill rubbed his eyes from the glow of his monitor. It was 3:00 p.m. on a Monday and he was TIRED. Slammed with meetings, reports, and an endless barrage of emails, Bill had barely had time for lunch (a quick trip through the McDonald’s Drive-Thru). He stood up, stretched, and stepped into the hallway to walk down to the vending machines for some much-needed energy. As he entered the hallway he was surprised to see his co-workers jeering and yelling at him. His boss grabbed his hands roughly and pulled them behind his back, tying them together with mailing tape. He felt the sharp poke of scissors in his back. ‘Forward, wench! You did a poor job swabbing the poop deck, and now you must walk the plank! YARRRR!!!’”
While this may be a slight exaggeration of how the typical walk to the vending machine goes, in reality each step you make towards that can of soda might as well be a walk towards the edge. Bill learned his soda habit in school, and kept with it his whole life…and he is not alone.
Here’s some soda facts, me maties:
- Americans drink more soda pop than ever before.
- Soda accounts for more than a QUARTER of all drinks consumed in the U.S.
- More than 15 BILLION GALLONS were sold in 2000, and its only increased since then.
- 15 BILLION GALLONS works out to at least one 12-ounce can per day for every man, woman, and child!
- Soft drink consumption rates have doubled in the last decade.
- Soft drinks are the leading source of added sugars in the average American teenager’s diet, equaling 15 to 20 teaspoons of added sugar per day!
- Adolescents (ages 11-17) get 11% of their calories from soft drinks!
- Drinking soda replaces nutritious drinks like milk, leading to decreased calcium consumption in girls. (One result: osteoporosis)
- A Harvard School of Health study determined that in 9th and 10th graders, those who drank soda regularly were THREE times more likely to develop bone fractures.
- For every soft drink consumed per day, the risk of obesity goes up by 50%
YARRRRRRRR! These kind of facts make really SHIVER ME TIMBERS. I honestly have no clue what that means. But, I think it has to do with the vibrations running down a pirate’s wooden peg leg from angry convulsions.
Anyway, its obvious that soda is horrible. But kids have few options at school, and when they’re thirsty, THEY’RE THIRSTY! And when they want to snack on junk food, who is going to stop them? The solution? First off, replacing junk food and soda vending machines with healthy snack and drink machines.
A possible objection: Won’t the school will lose money? Answer: FALSE. North Community High School in Minneapolis replaced most of its soda machines with machines stocked with fruit juices and water and their sales INCREASED. Other schools across the nation (Miami, Washington D.C., North Carolina, etc.) are already replacing their food AND drink machines with premium, high-tech 100% healthy vending machines.