By Philip Fine


Canadian beverage manufacturers have decided to pull soft drinks from school vending machines, according to Refreshments Canada.


The trade group announced that next September, water and 100% fruit juices will make up at least half of the beverage selections offered for sale in Canadian elementary and middle schools. The remaining selections will be a variety of other non-carbonated beverages such as juice drinks and sports drinks.


Refreshments Canada says its members have been working with school officials to ensure that "appropriate beverage choices are available to all students, particularly those in elementary schools."


The group's director of public affairs Calla Farn says the beverage industry shares growing concerns about the health of Canadian children, almost one third of whom are overweight.