A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report released this week shows an alarming trend in our nations obesity rates - the number of states with an obesity rate among adults of 30 percent or more has tripled since 2007 (now totaling nine states).   The report found that Mississippi has the highest obesity rate at 34 percent, and that about 75 million Americans are considered obese.

Some critics of the beverage industry argue that sugar-sweetened beverages are to blame for the obesity epidemic.  But, that doesn't add up, because, as obesity rates have continued to rise, soft drinks sales have declined.  In fact, since 2000, soft drink sales have gone down nearly 12 percent largely due to industry's innovations in no- and low-calorie beverage options.  And a Beverage Marketing Corporation analysis showed that the beverage industry has reduced the amount of calories it brings to market by 21 percent since 1998.  Industry innovation continues to bring more low-calorie, zero-calorie and smaller-portion beverages to market - and clearly consumers are availing themselves of those choices.

We at Sip & Savor agree that obesity is a very serious issue, and our member companies are committed to doing their part to help with a comprehensive solution.  The industry has already delivered on its commitment to change the beverage landscape in America's schools by removing full-calorie soft drinks and providing more lower-calorie, nutritious, smaller-portion beverage options.  With the School Beverage Guidelines, our companies have slashed beverage calories shipped to schools by 88 percent since 2004.

In support of First Lady Michelle Obama's 'Let’s Move!' anti-obesity campaign, America's leading beverage companies have committed to clearly display the calories in all our beverages on the front of the can or bottle as well as on our vending and fountain machines. This means that within two years, every time consumers pick up one of our beverages they will have the calorie information at their fingertips.  These are efforts that will have lasting and meaningful impact.