There has been much chatter about statistics from the federal government revealing that obesity rates have risen in the United States in recent years.  Of note, the increase happened at the same time soda consumption declined. Much to the dismay of public health activists, this development exposes their claim - that soda is the driving cause for obesity - as flat-out wrong.

Daily Caller columnist Guy Bentley points out in an article on the federal data that, “it’s becoming increasingly difficult to reconcile high or rising obesity rates with falling soda consumption.”

The simple concept of cause and effect says that if soda causes obesity, then obesity rates should decline as soda consumption declines. But just the opposite has happened. Obesity has gone up as soda consumption has gone down.

Bentley goes on to explain that, “According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an extra 445 calories per day have been added to the American food supply over the past 40 years. Sugar accounted for only 9 percent of this increase, or 34 calories.”

How could such a small portion of calories possibly be solely responsible for obesity?  It simply defies logic. In reality, no single food, beverage or ingredient is a unique contributor to obesity. Obesity is a complex problem that is caused by a variety of factors including overall diet, physical activity and genetics.

Wrongly demonizing one source of calories misleads people who are trying to achieve a balanced lifestyle and diverts us from real solutions. Rather than pushing erroneous advice on the public, anti-soda crusaders should focus on working together with industry, government and community groups to promote solutions rooted in science, not myth.

America’s leading beverage companies are doing their part to put forth meaningful solutions. We clearly display calorie counts on the front of all of our packaging and on vending machines so that consumers can make the choice that is right for them. We have reduced beverage calories in schools by 90 percent and we offer an assortment of low- and no-calorie beverages. On top of that, we have launched the single-largest voluntary effort by an industry to tackle obesity with our Balance Calories Initiative. This initiative has set a goal to cut beverage calories consumed per person by 20 percent nationally by 2025.

We all recognize that America must address the challenge of obesity, but placing all of your eggs in one basket by blaming one source of calories isn’t helping anyone. We invite everyone who is interested in being part of the solution to join us in working together to make a real difference.