ADA supports agreement to cut soft drink calories

By staff writers

October 1, 2014 -- Last week, the three biggest U.S. soft drink companies -- Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and the Dr Pepper Snapple Group -- pledged to cut the number of beverage calories that Americans consume by one-fifth by 2025.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and Clinton Foundation, worked with representatives from American Beverage Association to lower beverage calories in the American diet. The agreement was announced at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York City.

"I am excited about the potential of this voluntary commitment by the beverage industry. It can be a critical step in our ongoing fight against obesity," former U.S. President Bill Clinton said in a statement released by the Clinton Foundation. "Our work with beverage companies to reduce the number of calories shipped to schools by 90% demonstrates the power of creative cooperation."

The American Dental Association (ADA) then released a statement that it was "pleased" with the announcement. The ADA has long encouraged the public to practice good eating habits to keep their teeth healthy, and "reducing the portion sizes of sugary drinks may help reduce tooth decay," the organization stated.

Nationally, the beverage companies will use marketing and distribution efforts to increase consumer interest in and access to drink options to help consumers cut the amount of calories consumed. Options include smaller portion sizes, water, and other no- or lower-calorie beverages. They will also provide calorie counts and promote calorie awareness at more than 3 million vending machines, self-serve fountain dispensers, and retail coolers in convenience stores, restaurants, and other locations.

In the local communities, the companies pledged to promote consumption of their bottled water products and additional activities such as introducing and expanding new lower-calorie products and smaller portion packages.

"This is the single-largest voluntary effort by an industry to help fight obesity and leverages our companies' greatest strengths in marketing, innovation, and distribution," Susan Neely, American Beverage Association president and CEO, said in a statement.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation worked with representatives of beverage companies to establish guidelines for schools that limit portion sizes and reduce the number of beverage calories available to students. As a result, the industry committed to changing the beverage mix in schools across America by removing full-calorie soft drinks and providing for lower-calorie, nutritious beverage options. An analysis of the guidelines showed a 90% reduction in calories from beverages shipped to schools from 2004 to 2010.

Copyright © 2014

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