Proposal to limit sugary beverages at state's schools - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Proposal to limit sugary beverages at state's schools

By Chuck Weber

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL (WFLX)-Are drinks with caffeine and sugar on the way out for your kids at school?

At the State Board of Education meeting Wednesday in Palm Beach Gardens, board member John Padget, of Key West, proposed setting rules for beverages, citing the growing national obesity problem. "Become a national pioneer on this issue," said Padget.

He suggested using American Heart Association guidelines, which at elementary and middle schools would mean no drinks with caffeine or added sugar. Only water, one percent milk, and 100 percent fruit juices would be allowed.

At the high school level, diet and low-sugar caffeine drinks meeting certain limits, would make the grade.

"Our Board must do its share to extend and save lives and reduce health care costs," said Padget.

While Padget got support from some board members, the medical doctor on the Board, Dr. Akshay Desai, of St. Petersburg, was not on board. "I encourage all my patients to have healthy habits," explained Dr. Desai, "but I'm dead set against mandating, regulating, and encroaching on freedoms of American citizens."

Board chair T. Willard Fair, of Miami, said he wasn't sure the panel had the authority, under state law, to limit beverages at schools.

Education Commissioner Eric Smith said he would put the matter on the board's January agenda.

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