Texas Beverage Association: Reducing Sugar, Calorie Intake Beyond Drinks

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A gas station worker stocks grape soda in a display case. Overconsumption of sugary drinks are a major contributor to adult and adolescent obesity in Bexar County. Photo by Scott Ball

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

A gas station worker stocks grape soda in a display case. Overconsumption of sugary drinks are a major contributor to adult and adolescent obesity in Bexar County.

A recent commentary in the Rivard Report – Salud America!: Combatting Sugary Drinks, Unhealthy Weight Among Preschoolers – addressed a serious challenge facing communities in our nation: childhood obesity. Reducing obesity rates and improving the health and wellbeing of San Antonians young and old is critically important.

However, the writer ignored an important fact – it’s unproductive to assert that cutting out a single food, beverage, or ingredient is the silver bullet for health.

Americans are taking in more calories than ever, but beverages like sports drinks, soft drinks, teas, and juice are a small part of that. Beverages with sugar account for only 6% of calories in the average diet. Instead of demonizing a small source of calories, we must remember that all calories count, regardless of the source.

Some of our industry’s products do have many calories, so we believe we must play a role in improving public health, which is why we remain committed to comprehensive actions to help cut sugar consumption in the American diet. Through the American Beverage Association’s Balance Calories Initiative, our companies are driving a reduction in the sugar and calories consumed from beverages across the U.S. and engaging with prominent public health and community organizations in this effort. Our goal is to reduce by 20% the beverage calories consumed per person nationally by 2025.

This initiative includes doing the hard work of changing behavior in communities with some of the highest obesity rates in the country, such as the Mississippi Delta and rural Alabama. We’re providing new beverage options, information, and encouragement to help people cut back on calories and sugar.

Another way beverage companies are doing their part is through the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America’s partnership with the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Since 2012, grants have been awarded through the Childhood Obesity Prevention Awards program to mayors across the country, including two from Texas, who are going above and beyond in their efforts to address childhood obesity in their communities. These grants fund education programs that have impacted hundreds of thousands of children, helping them to understand the importance of balancing their diet.

We also know the importance of water on health and hydration. America’s leading beverage companies are partners in First Lady Michelle Obama’s Drink Up! initiative. Just last week we launched Drink Up! Los Angeles with the Partnership for a Healthier America. The Drink Up! campaign in Los Angeles is part of the broader Drink Up! initiative aimed at increasing consumption of water.

The beverage industry is proud to be doing its part to offer meaningful and lasting solutions to the challenge of obesity across our great country. Providing Americans the tools they need to make the best decisions for their families, like nutrition education and more information, is the surest way to make an impact on obesity rates.

Our work with public health and civic groups to actually reduce calorie and sugar consumption is a stronger way forward to bring about lasting change. We will remain engaged in public health issues because we, too, want a strong, healthy America.

3 thoughts on “Texas Beverage Association: Reducing Sugar, Calorie Intake Beyond Drinks

  1. In a world of information overload and ambiguity, it is critical to identify specific issues and evidence-based solutions. Promoting healthy drinks over sugary ones, especially in schools, is an effective way to not only reduce obesity, but also reduce risk of chronic disease and improve overall health and wellness.
    Regardless of calorie intake, consumption of sugary beverages is deleterious.
    The beverage analysis counter linked to in this comment (“beverages with sugar account for only 6% of calories in the average diet”) doesn’t account for variations across different populations. The concern is that Latino kids consume more sugary beverages than the average population.
    While there are many health issues, cutting out sugary beverages is a HUGE “silver bullet for health”. Physical activity is also a “silver bullet for health” which has been addressed in previous submissions.
    https://therivardreport.com/salud-america-keeping-latino-children-fit-healthy/
    https://therivardreport.com/salud-america-making-space-for-physical-activity/

    • Sugary beverages are a very important topic that address inequity related to Latino kid’s health. Latino kids are more marketed to by sugary beverage and junk food companies than their white peers, and this is a concern for their future health! Addressing sugary beverages is a key in addressing unhealthy weights for all kids, especially when most if not all restaurants include a soda or sweet tea/lemonade as the default option and charge for a water!

      • It’s a choice. You make it for your children. It’s not complicated. The ‘sugary drink’ produces are at your mercy. Not the other way around.

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