Concerns about the overall health and well-being of America's children continue to rise as the obesity epidemic continues to expand. Many nutrition experts say an increase in soft drink consumption among adolescents coupled with the easy access to soft drinks in school vending machines over the past two decades are contributing factors to excess weight among kids.
To gauge parents' thoughts on school vending machines, researchers at the University of Minnesota conducted focus groups, from which five major themes emerged (in order of importance):
"As soft drink consumption increases among kids, so do nutritional concerns," says registered dietitian and ADA Spokesperson Patricia Vasconcellos. "Too often soft drinks take the place of more nutritious beverages such as milk and fruit juices. As your best guideline, encourage your children to enjoy soft drinks in mode