Beverage Industry Pledges to Reduce Americans' Drink Calories [October 6, 2014]   [open pdf - 56KB]

"Obesity rates in the United States remain high, with roughly two-thirds of adults and one-third of children overweight or obese. The estimated annual health care costs of obesity-related illness are approaching $200 billion, and this has been characterized as the first generation of children who may not outlive their parents. Congress and the Obama Administration have shown a strong interest in developing policies to address the obesity epidemic. Various legislative, regulatory, and industry initiatives have been proposed, including efforts targeting sugar-sweetened beverage consumption. The term 'sugar-sweetened beverages' refers to drinks sweetened with sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, or other caloric sweeteners. They are considered a source of 'empty' calories and have been implicated as a significant contributor to the obesity epidemic. Although there is no recommended amount for sugar intake, the World Health Organization proposes that sugars should comprise less than 10% of daily calories. A single 12 ounce can of soda provides up to 10 teaspoons of sugar, and sugary soft drinks account for 6% of daily calorie intake among Americans. At a recent meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, leading beverage companies pledged to reduce the number of sugar-sweetened drink calories consumed by Americans by 20% by 2025. Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, Snapple, PepsiCo, and the American Beverage Association are teaming up with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a national nonprofit working to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity."

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