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NZ: Health minister wants soda school ban faster than the US

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New Zealand should aim to ban the sale of carbonated soft drinks in its schools faster than the US, the country's health minister has said.

Health minister Pete Hodgson said the New Zealand government would work to stop the sale of full-calorie soft drinks in schools before 2009/10, when the US is aiming to achieve its complete ban.

"This is a remarkable turn of events," Hodgson said. "The epidemic of childhood obesity is the greatest public health challenge facing the western world. The goal in the US is to have fizzy drinks out of 75% of schools by 2008/09 and all schools by 2009/10. New Zealand should be aiming to get there faster than the Americans.

"I have been working with my colleagues on a government-wide strategy to address issues of obesity, fitness and lifestyle, which will include schools."

Sue Kedgley, a spokesperson for the country's Green Party said New Zealand should not follow the lead of the US in replacing full-calorie sodas with diet or low-calorie varieties.

On Wednesday, US soft drinks producers agreed to stop selling their full-calorie products in the country's schools in a bid to fight rising child obesity.

Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Cadbury Schweppes and the American Beverage Association volunteered for the scheme under a plan drawn up by former US president Bill Clinton.


Sectors: Soft drinks, Water

Companies: Cadbury

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