Pushing to eliminate flavored milk from Fresno schools

FRESNO, Calif.

Holding up signs - about 20 people - some parents, some doctors - urged the board of education to ban flavored milk before the start of school. They say Fresno is facing a child obesity crisis - caused in part by sugar in chocolate milk.

Dr. Tienchin Ho said, "Flavored milk leads to obesity and we have a problem of obesity in the Valley."

Dr. Tienchin Ho is not only a local parent - she's a weight loss surgeon - and a member of a growing coalition of health advocates - who voiced their concerns to the board of education - asking them to ban flavored milk in Fresno schools.

Dr. Tienchin Ho said, "We come from varied areas of the healthcare sector from the north end of town to the south end of town and I think all of our concerns are the same."

Their concerns - flavored milk contributes to poor health and nutritional habits.

Joe Herzog said, "There's so many studies tying sugar to certain cancers... corn syrup tied directly to pancreatic cancer."

They say each 8 ounce carton contains 28 grams of sugar - the equivalent of a glazed chocolate donut or a glass of Coca-Cola. The American Heart Association recommends half of that. But when given the choice - three out of four Fresno kids choose sugar over a healthier option.

"Soda has already been eliminated. Federal law already bans flavored milk to preschools why not expand this ban to benefit school children?"

The group gathered more than a thousand signatures from parents within the school district and claims the majority of those they talked with - favor the ban.

Action News asked parents whether Fresno Unified should eliminate flavored milk. Out of the more than 500 responses on Facebook - the majority said no.

Shana wrote: "I don't think flavored milk is the problem. It is the chips, fried nuggets, pizza and fatty processed foods that are considered healthy. We live in the breadbasket of the world and our schools feed our kids processed [expletive]."

Still the group isn't giving up it's fight. While the district considers their proposal - they say other school districts have a similar ban in place. Districts like Los Angeles, Berkeley and Washington D.C. and Florida has considered a statewide ban.

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