September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month--a time to shine a spotlight on the need for all of us to focus on helping solve this serious nationwide challenge.

We encourage you to check out what’s happening at Healthier Kids, Brighter Futures, which offers ideas for September events and shares a toolkit for those who want to “encourage children to be active and eat healthy.”  You also can add your own event and compete for a 2011 PLAY (Promote Lively, Active Youth) Award.  And check out what other organizations like DC SCORES are doing this month.

Childhood obesity is, of course, a vital cause for every single day of the year; but we were pleased to see the uptick in attention coming from last year’s first ever awareness month.  We also were proud to endorse the 2010 and 2011 congressional resolutions, sponsored by Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio.

As President Obama said in his presidential proclamation, everyone does have a role to play and our industry is committed to being part of real solutions.  In support of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, we are helping consumers make the choice that is right for them and their families by placing calorie labels on the front of every bottle, can and pack our member companies produce.

We successfully implemented School Beverage Guidelines, which removed full-calorie soft drinks from schools and replaced them with more lower-calorie, smaller-portion beverages--reducing beverage calories shipped to schools nationwide by 88 percent since 2004.  And our member companies are continuing to offer more no-and low-calorie beverage options.

We applaud those who participate in the September awareness events and congratulate them on helping mobilize attention to childhood obesity.

And, before we go for the day, a reminder that balancing calories from all foods and beverages with those burned through physical activity and exercise is essential to maintaining a balanced, active and healthy lifestyle.