On CNBC's "Morning Joe" today, co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski once again decided to talk about "beating obesity." This time the guest on the topic was Marc Ambinder, the politics editor of The Atlantic who has gone through bariatric surgery to deal with his own weight issue. During the segment, the group discussed what they believe are the ramifications of obesity.
Not surprisingly, Mika mentioned seeing an obese child at the zoo drinking "a gallon of soda" – as though that were the sole cause of the child's obesity - and wanting to speak with the parents about her concerns. Ambinder noted that we expect "parents to be able to prevent their kids from becoming obese," but that parents don't necessarily know how to do that or may not have the right resources.
We agree - that's why the beverage industry has stepped up to be part of the solution to childhood obesity. After all, the goal of reducing childhood obesity is one that will take all of us working together - industry, schools, parents and non-profit organizations. It will take serious commitment.
Our industry takes its commitment to being part of the solution to childhood obesity very seriously. The industry has already delivered on its commitment to change the beverage landscape in America's schools by removing full-calorie soft drinks and replacing them with 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.
And our commitment extends beyond America's schools. 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 touch one of our beverages they will have the calorie information at their fingertips.
Turning the tide on the childhood obesity challenge won’t happen with quick fixes that are ineffective in the long-term, such as demonizing certain foods or even suggesting taxing them. Rather, if we all work together to do our part, we can make a difference - a difference that will have a meaningful and lasting impact.