PepsiCo has announced that it will stop selling full-sugar soft drinks to all primary and secondary schools by 2012.
The global policy came after the World Heart Federation spent the last year negotiating with soft drink makers to have them remove sugary beverages from schools in an effort to combat a rise in childhood obesity, which can lead to diabetes, heart problems and other ailments.
The company said it will remove full-calorie, sweetened drinks from schools in more than 200 countries, marking the first such move by a major. , president of the World Heart Federation, welcomed the move and said he hopes other companies feel pressured to make similar moves.
PepsiCo will sell only water, fat-free or low-fat milk, and juice with no added sugar in primary schools. In secondary schools, it will sell those drinks along with low-calorie soft drinks, such as Diet Pepsi. Sports drinks will be permissible when they're sold to students participating in sports or other physical activities.
The policy applies in all countries outside the United States. PepsiCo, the world's second largest soft drink maker and number one player Coca-Cola both adopted guidelines to stop selling sugary drinks in U.S. schools in 2006.
Coca-Cola this month changed its global sales policy to say it won't sell any of its drinks worldwide inunless parents or school districts ask. The policy does not apply to secondary schools. The World Heart Federation wants all drinks with added sugars removed from schools with children through age 18.