September—for the very first time—is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.  With unanimity, Congress has declared it so.  The goal is to increase awareness and mobilize Americans to become healthier.

Get informed.  Get connected.  Get involved.  That’s the message on the “Healthier Kids, Brighter Futures” website.   There, families and individuals can learn how taking even small steps can make a big difference in their lives.  National, state and local leaders, as well as businesses and organizations, are encouraged to observe the month.

We at Sip & Savor are proud to be one of the organizations supporting the congressional resolution.  We salute the prime sponsors, Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. By putting the spotlight on the issue for a whole month, the supporters also hope to maximize the impact of programs, activities and messages about childhood obesity and how to develop healthier lives.  In fact, President Obama also has issued a National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month proclamation, urging all Americans to take actions to meet the goal of solving the childhood obesity problem within a generation.

America’s non-alcoholic beverage industry is also doing its part to help reduce childhood obesity. Under the national School Beverage Guidelines, our member companies have removed full-calorie soft drinks and replaced them with lower-calorie, nutritious and smaller-portion beverage options. As a result, beverage calories shipped to schools have been reduced by a dramatic 88 percent since 2004.  But, our member companies aren’t just stopping there – they’ve also come together with a Clear on Calories labeling initiative, committing to clearly display the calories in all of their beverages on the front of the can or bottle as well as on company-controlled vending machines and fountain equipment.  This means that within two years every time consumers touch one of our beverages they will have the calorie information at their fingertips at every point of purchase.

We  all need to be engaged to promote and practice healthy lifestyles and we congratulate parents for the hard work they do in helping teach children about the importance of balanced  nutrition and exercise.  And we encourage all Americans to learn more about the importance of balancing “calories in” with “calories out.”