There is no question that rising rates of obesity is a challenge for our country. The looming question is what’s the best way to address it? In a letter to the editor published in Newsday, a Long Island, N.Y., resident says taxing one item in the grocery cart is not the answer.

“There are no guarantees that the government would use this money for health-related services,” wrote Chris Wales about efforts to tax beverages.

He’s right. And, even more importantly, there are better and more effective ways to help people reduce the calories and sugar they get from beverages. These are actions already being undertaken by America’s leading beverage companies.

We are driving a reduction in the sugar and calories consumed from beverages across America – engaging with prominent public health and community organizations in this effort. This includes doing the hard work of changing behavior in communities with some of the highest obesity rates in the country, such as the Mississippi Delta and rural Alabama. We’re providing the new beverage options, information and encouragement to help people cut back on calories and sugar.

All of this work is being done with an eye toward achieving our goal of reducing beverage calories in the American diet 20 percent per person by 2025. This is the hard work necessary for true and lasting change.

America’s beverage companies are engaged in public health issues because we, too, want a strong healthy, America. To learn more about how America’s beverage companies are rolling up their sleeves and working hard to change behaviors that lead to obesity visit .