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Drink industry to stop selling sugary drinks at secondary schools
From:Xinhua  |  2017-09-06 22:42

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THE HAGUE, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- The Dutch Association of Soft drinks, Waters and Juices (FWS) announced on Wednesday that by the end of 2018 its members will no longer sell sugary soft drinks at Dutch secondary schools, a measure supporting ongoing national efforts to offer a healthier range of food and drinks in school environments.

"We want to help young people make a healthier choice," Raymond Gianotten, director of the association told RTL News about the new agreement, which is part of a commitment of the entire European soft drink industry, striving to only offer low-calorie and calorie-free soft drinks at secondary schools starting from 2019.

The "light" varieties will remain for sale. "There's nothing wrong with those. They contain no sugar, and hardly any calories. You can drink them without ingesting too many calories," explained Gianotten. According to the Dutch Nutrition Centre, products containing 30 percent less kcal, sugar, or fat than the original product are classified as "light".

The FWS, which has about 20 members including Dutch-based producers and foreign manufacturers with sales offices in the Netherlands, has already halted marketing activities aimed at children under the age of 13. It also stopped selling and promoting soft drinks at elementary schools and no longer puts branded soft drink vending machines at secondary schools.

The association currently aims at filling 60 percent of the vending machines with water and low-calorie soft drinks. With this new action for healthy nutrition at schools, it wants to contribute to further reducing obesity among young people.

In 2016, of the Dutch youngsters aged four to 20 years, 10.6 percent were moderately overweight and 2.7 percent extremely overweight, up from 8.0 percent and 2.1 percent respectively in 1981 when Statistics Netherlands (CBS) started recording these figures.