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Wednesday 21st August 2019

Blue sky plan works

6th May 2006

06052006_ColaBlueSky1.jpgBill Clinton has achieved a diplomatic breakthrough in the obesity wars, claims the Los Angeles Times. The former president "who also is a former fat boy" has managed to negotiate a truce between health activists and three major soft-drink manufacturers.

The result is a "voluntary" agreement that the manufacturers of Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper will phase out their school sales of sugary soft drinks over the next three years. By then vending machines and cafeterias in middle schools will dispense only water, low-fat and nonfat milk and 100% fruit juice. High school students also will be able to purchase diet sodas.

"Once famous for his enormous appetite and fondness for unhealthy food, Clinton was born again as a fitness advocate after heart-bypass surgery in 2004," the paper says.

The former President explained, "If an 8-year-old child took in 45 less calories per day, by the time he reached high school, he would weigh 20 pounds less than he would have weighed otherwise."

It's no secret that the waistlines of America's youngsters are expanding and that soft drinks are a contributing factor. Childhood obesity often turns into adult obesity, with the attendant healthcare costs. That is reason enough for removing sugary drinks from the schools. As for accusations that such a policy is paternalistic? "Schools often act in a parental role, and in this case it's not inappropriate."

It would be nice to think that the manufacturers yielded to Clinton purely because they shared his concern about what some have called Generation XL. But one legal expert claimed the former President was holding a more persuasive weapon: the threat of tobacco-style lawsuits.

"We hope this expert is wrong, because allowing fat people to sue the makers of high-calorie foods would take a big bite out of the notion of personal responsibility. We'd prefer to think that the manufacturers were motivated by a more noble objective — like prolonging the lives of the next generation so they'll be around to buy Coke and Pepsi."


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