Today we wanted to share with you some straight talk on obesity from this week's Washington Times.  Marybeth Hicks, in her op-ed on Tuesday, warned against knee-jerk reactions like cupcake bans and soft drink taxes for those looking for solutions to a problem of obesity.  Here at Sip & Savor, we couldn’t agree more.  That’s why we've embraced holistic approaches that will have a meaningful and lasting impact.

Hicks applauds the First Lady Michelle Obama's 'Let’s Move!' anti-obesity initiative, one that our member companies support with the "Clear on Calories" initiative.  As part of this effort, our member companies will clearly display the calories on the front of cans or bottles as well as on vending and fountain machines.  This means that within two years, every time consumers touch one of our beverages, they will have calorie information they need right at their fingertips.

Also, America's leading beverage companies have delivered on the national School Beverage Guidelines commitment, which removes full-calorie soft drinks from schools across the country.  Beverage calories shipped to schools have declined 88 percent!  We're proud to say that this voluntary commitment is having a meaningful impact in schools across the country.

Finally, and as proof to Hick's point that industry will respond to the incentives and demands of consumers, beverage companies continue to create more zero-calorie, low-calorie and reduced-portion size products.  In fact, since 1998, there has been a 21 percent reduction in beverage calories in the marketplace.

We support solutions that work.  We think that we all need to counter challenges like obesity with programs that improve nutrition education and expand healthy options for people, like the ones above.  Taxes have proven to be ineffective and miss the mark on obesity, and Marybeth Hicks' op-ed certainly tells it like it is.