WASHINGTON, D.C. - The American Beverage Association (ABA) today commends Congress for passage of the "Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act," a bill that will provide necessary funding to federal child nutrition programs.

"This action by Congress is truly significant and we applaud members for advancing this bill before the end of this session," Susan K. Neely, ABA president and CEO, said. "The health of our nation's young people is something our industry is committed to and providing them nutritious food and beverage options in schools is something we all support."

The beverage industry has a longstanding commitment to the health and wellness of our nation's children. America's leading beverage companies have already delivered on our commitment to change the beverage landscape in schools with our national School Beverage Guidelines, which removed full-calorie soft drinks and replaced them with more lower-calorie, nutritious, smaller-portion beverage options.

"The School Beverage Guidelines have been successfully implemented in schools across this country and provide a solid foundation for developing a new federal nutrition standard for all foods and beverages sold in schools," Neely said.

With the guidelines, our companies have slashed beverage calories shipped to schools by a dramatic 88 percent since 2004. These guidelines are having a meaningful impact on our nation's schoolchildren. Under the voluntary guidelines, 100 percent juice, low-fat milk and bottled water are allowed in elementary and middle schools, with the addition of diet beverages and calorie-capped sports drinks, flavored waters and teas in high schools.

For more information about the School Beverage Guidelines, please visit www.ameribev.org.

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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.