Los Angeles Unified School District

* Los Angeles Unified School District voted last week to outlaw the sale of soft drinks at its 677 schools to combat increasing obesity among the city's 736,000 students.

The ban deprives many schools of lucrative contracts with Coca-Cola and Pepsi. One school earned $88,000 (pound;56,000) from such a deal last year.

Schools have until 2004 to offer students water, fruit juice, milk or sports drinks in place of sugary fizzy beverages. A recent survey of 900 Los Angeles pupils found that 40 per cent were obese.

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