New York State has asked the USDA to ban food-stamp use for sugary soda. This is the first part of New York's campaign to limit children's access to these sugary drinks, which studies have shown contribute to obesity, type II diabetes, and heart disease. But New York overlooked another key culprit threatening the good health of American kids: caffeine. Caffeine has similar effects in the body to sugar, and as with sugary drinks, the beverages most loaded with caffeine are marketed to adolescents.
Caffeine raises both blood sugar and insulin levels, contributing to insulin resistance, which in turn leads to weight gain, type II diabetes, and heart disease. Teens who don't sleep at night because they're over-caffeinated don't perform well in school and don't have the energy to be active during the day.
Sodas like Coca-Cola and Pepsi contain up to 55 mg of caffeine and these companies are notorious for youth-targeted advertising campaigns. Energy drinks like Red Bull -- with a whopping 80 mg of caffeine -- are advertised with cartoons. And with Starbucks establishing itself as a hang-out location for teens, adolescents are ingesting, on average, five to six cups of coffee's worth of caffeine per day.
Sign the petition to alert the USDA to this problem and ask the agency to stand up against powerful corporate interests that want to keep taking money from kids for caffeinated drinks.