NA­TIONAL

Gov’t to ban sales of coffee at schools to fight obe­sity

The Korea Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Lee Kyung-min lkm@ko­re­atimes.co.kr

The govern­ment will ban coffee sales in el­e­men­tary and sec­ondary schools from mid-Septem­ber to curb grow­ing caf­feine con­sump­tion among stu­dents un­der enor­mous stress to study late into the night.

The govern­ment will ban coffee sales in el­e­men­tary and sec­ondary schools from mid-Septem­ber to curb grow­ing caf­feine con­sump­tion among stu­dents un­der enor­mous stress to study late into the night.

The Min­istry of Food and Drug Safety said Thurs­day a revision to the law gov­ern­ing food safety for chil­dren will take ef­fect Sep. 14. Un­der the revision, coffee will be re­moved from vend­ing ma­chines in school grounds and cafe­te­rias.

The mea­sure is the lat­est in the govern­ment’s ef­forts to re­duce caf­feine con­sump­tion among teenagers. It banned sales of highly caf­feinated drinks in schools in Jan­uary due to the in­creas­ing caf­feine in­take among chil­dren dur­ing exam pe­ri­ods.

The ban fol­lowed me­dia re­ports that many chil­dren were con­sum­ing a cou­ple of en­ergy drinks a day to boost alert­ness and im­prove con­cen­tra­tion with­out re­al­iz­ing the pos­si­ble health risks.

It also reflected the need to in­tro­duce a reg­u­la­tion af­ter nu­mer­ous teenagers ex­pe­ri­enced headaches, nau­sea and heart pal­pi­ta­tions af­ter drink­ing coffee milk prod­ucts sold at GS25 con­ve­nience stores. The 500-mil­liter drinks con­tained 237 mil­ligrams of caf­feine, equivalent to four cans of Red Bull, an en­ergy drink that has 62.5 mil­ligrams of caf­feine per can.

The amount far ex­ceeded the min­istry-ad­vised max­i­mum daily caf­feine in­take for chil­dren aged 19 and un­der of 2.5 mil­ligrams per kilo­gram of weight. For ex­am­ple, a 60-kilo­gram child should not con­sume more than 150 mil­ligrams of caf­feine a day.

The ban is part of a larger cam­paign to re­strict high-calo­rie, low-nu­tri­ent foods, in­clud­ing fast food, sug­ary con­fec­tionary and highly caf­feinated bev­er­ages. Since Jan­uary, the govern­ment has banned ter­res­trial and ca­ble broad­cast­ing com­pa­nies from air­ing com­mer­cials for such prod­ucts be­tween 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., when most chil­dren’s shows air, sub­ject­ing over 100 prod­ucts to the mea­sure.

The move comes amid an in­crease in the num­bers of obese chil­dren over the past few years.

Ac­cord­ing to 2017 data from the Korea Cen­ters for Disease and Preven­tion (KCDC), about 16.5 per­cent of el­e­men­tary and sec­ondary school stu­dents were obese in 2016, up from 11.6 per­cent in 2007. One in five ate fast food at least three times a week. Less than 20 per­cent of the boys par­tic­i­pated in more than an hour of phys­i­cal ex­er­cise at least once a week, and only 7.5 per­cent of the girls did.

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