In response to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's petition to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to eliminate the purchase of sugar-sweetened beverages from the Food Stamps program in New York City, the American Beverage Association issued the following statement:

"There is nothing unique about the calories in sugar-sweetened beverages - which include flavored waters, sports drinks, juice drinks and teas - to justify singling them out for elimination from eligible purchases in the Food Stamps program in New York City. This is just another attempt by government to tell New Yorkers what they should eat and drink, and will only have an unfair impact on those who can least afford it.

If we want to reduce obesity in this country, we need to look at comprehensive solutions that address balancing calories in with calories out. After all, we know that is the key to maintaining a healthy weight. Importantly, the beverage industry has taken and continues to take bold action to help address the complex public health issue of obesity. The industry has changed the beverage landscape for children and adolescents. With our School Beverage Guidelines, beverage companies have removed full-calorie soft drinks from schools across the country and replaced them with lower-calorie, smaller-portion beverage choices. As a result of this initiative, calories available from beverages in schools have been cut by 88 percent.

Also, in support of First Lady Michelle Obama's ‘Let's Move!' anti-obesity campaign, America's leading beverage companies have committed to clearly display the calories in all beverages on the front of the can or bottle as well as on company-controlled vending and fountain machines. And beverage companies are producing fewer total beverage calories for the marketplace through the innovation of more no- and low-calorie beverages. In fact, from 1998 to 2008, industry cut the total beverage calories it brought to market by 21 percent. These are voluntary actions that will achieve meaningful and lasting results."

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The American Beverage Association is the trade association representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute non-alcoholic beverages in the United States.