Schools Shoo Cola Genie Away!
New Delhi: NOT ONE. Not two. Many major city schools have already
banned colas and junk foods. They claim it’s purely a health issue
and has nothing to do with pesticides-in-soft-drink scare. But, what
without colas? It’s mattha, milk and juices and dosas!
Delhi Public School, Eldeco branch banned colas two years ago. Modern
School (Aliganj) got rid of them just six months ago. Study Hall (Gomti
Nagar) did it just three months ago. But, what’s interesting is that
the city schools have responded to it as a major health issue and
broadbased their concern in the same spirit. Now schools canteens
serve idli-sambhar, dhokla, sandwiches, mattha, milk, juices to students
Principal of Study Hall Urvashi Sahani says: “It’s about three months
ago we banned the ‘cold-drinks’ on campus. Now our canteen provides
fruit juices or milk. Once our canteen proprietor cribbed that many
times students go out to have cold drinks, so why not reintroduce
it? But we did not allow. The issue is not pesticides residues. Pesticides
or no pesticides, these cold drinks are not healthy.”
The Principal of Delhi Public School (DPS), Eldeco, says: “Two years
ago we did away with cold drinks — it was the time when the controversy
had first emerged. We now give branded bottled mild, fruit juices.
Till now we had those non-cola cold drinks. But now we are putting
a ban on that too.”
Modern School’s founder manager Rakesh Kapoor says: “We had banned
it six months ago. We don’t want any unhealthy food, drinks, snacks
to be sold on our campus. Now idli-sambhar, dhoklas are in thing in
our campus. It was just a habit that students out of fashion and trend
got hooked to cold-drinks. We are making idli-sambhar, dhoklas, fruit
juices or milk fashionable”.
Lucknow has a movement going on in form of HOPE Initiative about health
awareness to schoolchildren that has Dr Gaur Choudhuri, HoD of Gastroenterology,
Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences and Justice
DK Trivedi at the helm of affairs. They have been running campaign
in the form of health awareness lectures, debates, discussions, and
interactive sessions on HOPE’s website. Just two weeks ago, it had
teachers from several schools converge at SGPGIMS to learn about hepatitis
B. So that in turn they make students aware about it.
All these schools and many more have become regulars in health awareness
programmes that HOPE Initiative runs.
“Some months ago we had held a campaign to make students aware about
health hazards of cold drinks and junk food. The horrors we told them
made several students come up and pledge that they will not consume
cold drinks,” said Dr Choudhuri.
“The phosphoric acid (used as a preservative) levels in these drinks,
can lead to leaching of calcium and bones, besides the protein content
is almost nil. Another fact is that the empty calories (lot of calories
but no nutritive value) got from these drinks have actually led to
an increase in the number of obese children in India. By 2020, approximately
20% of Indian kids will be obese. Then there is caffine contents that
are addictive and stimulant,” he said.
On April 21 this year, in an interschool debate on ‘the banning of
colas and junk food in and around schools’ saw students from 16 different
schools participate on the topic.
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