President Obama’s proclamation announcing that September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month said that “childhood obesity rates have stopped rising, and we have seen an encouraging drop in obesity rates among children ages 2 to 5 years old.” This is indeed encouraging news and the beverage industry is committed to doing its part to continue that positive trend.
In fact, we hope some of what we are doing has been a factor in the good news.
The American Beverage Association partnered in 2006 with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation on the National School Beverage Guidelines – an initiative to remove full-calorie sodas from schools and replace them with a range of lower-calorie, smaller-portion choices. As a result of this ambitious effort we slashed beverage calories in schools by more than 90 percent and successfully changed the beverage landscape in schools across the country. This voluntary step by the beverage industry later helped form the basis of the beverage component of USDA’s regulations for foods and beverages sold in schools.
We understand that giving families the information they need to make informed choices is key to solving the obesity challenge. Clear on Calories – our calorie labeling effort which prominently displays calorie information on the front of every bottle, can and pack we sell –– was launched in 2010 in support of the First Lady’s “Let’s Move!” campaign. We are also placing calorie information on more than 3 million vending machines, self-serve fountains and retail coolers to make it easier for people to choose the drink that's right for them.
Joining forces again with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, America’s leading beverage companies launched the Balance Calories Initiative in 2014 and set a goal to reduce beverage calories consumed per person nationally by 20 percent by 2025. An important component of this effort is Mixify™, a first-of-its kind national consumer awareness and engagement program encouraging teens and their families to balance their calories by moderating what they consume, including from beverages, and getting more active.
These efforts offer meaningful solutions to address our nation’s obesity challenge and the president recognized in his proclamation that they are making a difference. “We are proud that our nation's businesses have joined in the fight by working to create healthier kids' menus at restaurants and cut trillions of calories from the food and beverage products children consume,” President Obama stated.
To learn more about the beverage industry’s commitment to fighting obesity, visit DeliveringChoices.org.