By Sylvia Gurinsky
What can Florida's schools do on their summer vacation? Make sure all vending machines with unhealthy snacks are gone by the time students return:
It's been a few years since the American Beverage Association made a deal with the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation to limit shipments of sodas to schools. It's been successful in getting children across the United States to choose healthier alternatives.
Some in the Sunshine State don't seem to be getting the message yet, including members of Florida's Board of Education:
It shouldn't even be taking this long to implement the standards of the national deal that was reached, much less to create standards for Florida.
In caving in to the industries that produce the sugary sodas and snacks, the Board of Education has, so far, ignored evidence of how excessive consumption of those items can lead to poor health and obesity among children.
Roberto Martinez wants to see the evidence? It's been out for years.
The concern over flavored milk is understandable; in this corner is someone who's never particularly liked the taste of plain milk, either. Perhaps a compromise is possible: Allow the option of flavored milk or ice cream on Fridays, for example. Have other milk alternatives, such as cottage cheese and cheese slices.
As for financial issues, vending machines can be filled with nutritious and tasty alternatives.
Good eating habits start at a young age. Florida's schools have as much obligation as Florida's parents to get children into those habits.