In a landmark decision to help fight obesity, which HowtoLearn.com believes will also help kids learn better because their brains and bodies are healthier, The American Beverage Association, including The Coca-Cola Company, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and PepsiCo agreed on September 23, 2014, to work together to reduce beverage calories consumed per person nationally by 20% by 2025.
As significant proponents of the long-known connection between nutrition and learning, HowtoLearn.com, online since 1996, applauds this outstanding action on the part of the American Beverage Association (ABA) companies.
Pat Wyman, CEO of HowtoLearn.com, was ecstatic to hear of this landmark decision. As the best-selling author of several books including Amazing Grades:101 Best Ways to Improve Your Learning Faster which contains chapters on the connection between nutrition and learning, and co-author in her earlier book, What’s Food Got to Do With It? 101 Natural Remedies for Learning Disabilities (reprinting scheduled for 2015), Wyman has long been an outspoken proponent of the powerful connection between food and learning.
“The American Beverage Association decision today is not only significant due to the alliance of such well-known companies who influence our culture, but most importantly, their choice can be a catalyst to help curb national obesity levels, possibly lower type 2 diabetes rates in children by reducing the sugar content in what they drink at school and at home, and overall, remove some of the biggest dietary roadblocks to learning success,” predicted Wyman.
Former President Bill Clinton, who announced the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) commitment at the CGI Annual Meeting in New York City commented about the obesity levels and was joined on stage byWendy Clark, President, Sparkling Brands & Strategic Marketing, Coca-Cola North America, The Coca-Cola Company; Rodger L. Collins, President, Packaged Beverages, Dr Pepper Snapple Group; and Albert P. Carey, CEO, PepsiCo Americas Beverages, PepsiCo.
“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,” said President Clinton. “Our work with beverage companies to reduce the number of calories shipped to schools by 90 percent demonstrates the power of creative cooperation. We look forward to continuing to work together to achieve the goals outlined in this commitment.”
According to information in the American Beverage Association’s press release, “America’s leading beverage companies have set a goal to reduce beverage calories consumed per person nationally by 20 percent by 2025. To help achieve this goal, the beverage companies will take a two-pronged approach:
National Initiative: The beverage companies will leverage their marketing, innovation and distribution strength to increase and sustain consumer interest in and access to beverage options to help consumers reduce calories consumed.
Such beverage options include smaller portion sizes, water, and other no- or lower-calorie beverages.
Through these efforts, water and other lower-calorie beverages are expected to grow significantly.
The companies will engage in consumer education and outreach efforts to increase consumer awareness of and interest in the wide array of no- and lower-calorie beverages and smaller portion sizes available.
Each beverage company will provide calorie counts, and promote calorie awareness on all beverage company-controlled point-of-sale equipment nationwide, including more than 3 million vending machines, self-serve fountain dispensers, and retail coolers in convenience stores, restaurants and other locations.
Community Initiative: Each beverage company commits to focus efforts in communities where there has been less interest in and/or access to options that help consumers reduce their calories with a goal of achieving a 20 percent per person reduction of calories consumed from beverages in those communities within ten years.
Beverage companies will promote consumption of their bottled water products.
Each beverage company may undertake additional activities including: introducing and expanding new lower-calorie products and smaller-portion packages; product placement such as end aisle and checkout displays featuring only reduced-calorie beverages; merchandising efforts such as repositioning reduced-calorie beverages on shelves; providing coupons and other incentives promoting no/lower-calorie options; and taste tests/sampling programs in and out of store.”
Susan K. Neely, President and CEO of the American Beverage Association, vowed to continue the partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
“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,” said Susan K. Neely, President and CEO of the American Beverage Association.
“This initiative will help transform the beverage landscape in America. It takes our efforts to provide consumers with more choices, smaller portions and fewer calories to an ambitious new level.
We’re proud to continue our successful partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and President Clinton and further our commitment to bring meaningful solutions to families and communities nationwide.”
The beverage companies will retain an independent, third-party evaluator, in conjunction with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, to track progress and interim benchmarks toward their commitments. The beverage industry and the Alliance will work jointly to define the reporting schedule for all aspects of this agreement.
Working with industry has been a critical strategy for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a national nonprofit working to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity. The Alliance works with more than 120 companies to improve their individual and industry-wide business practices to more positively impact the nation’s youth.
In May 2006, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation worked with representatives of The Coca-Cola Company, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, PepsiCo and the American Beverage Association to establish the Alliance School Beverage Guidelines that limit portion sizes and reduce the number of beverage calories available to students during the school day.
Independent Analysis Shows 90% Reduction in Calories from Beverages Shipped to Schools Between 2004-2010 School Years.
As a result of the guidelines, 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 in age-appropriate portions. An independent analysis of the Alliance School Beverage Guidelines published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2012 showed there had been a 90 percent reduction in calories from beverages shipped to schools between the 2004-2010 school years.
“Calories from beverages such as regular sodas and fruit drinks make up 6 percent of Americans’ daily caloric intake,” said Dr. Howell Wechsler, CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
“Reducing the number of calories consumed from beverages in the United States is imperative to helping curb obesity. We commend the beverage industry for making this strong commitment to reducing the number of beverage calories consumed per person by 20 percent.”
About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, empowers kids to develop lifelong, healthy habits. The Alliance works with schools, companies, community organizations, healthcare professionals and families to build healthier environments for millions of children. To learn more and join the movement, visit www.HealthierGeneration.org.
About The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation
The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation builds partnerships of great purpose between businesses, governments, NGOs, and individuals everywhere to deliver lasting solutions and empower people to live better lives. Because of our work, 18,000 American schools are providing kids with healthy food choices in an effort to eradicate childhood obesity; 21,000 African farmers have improved their crops to feed 30,000 people; 248 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions are being reduced in cities worldwide; more than 5,000 people have been trained in marketable job skills in Colombia; more than 5 million people have benefited from lifesaving HIV/AIDS medications; and members of the Clinton Global Initiative have made nearly 2,300 Commitments to Action to improve more than 400 million lives around the world. Learn more at www.clintonfoundation.org, and on Twitter @ClintonFdn.
About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.
CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date CGI members have made more than 2,300 commitments, which are already improving the lives of more than 400 million people in over 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $73.5 billion.
CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world, and, this year, CGI Latin America, which will bring together Latin American leaders to identify, harness, and strengthen ways to improve the livelihoods of people in Latin America and around the world. For more information, visit www.clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at www.facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.
About American Beverage Association
The American Beverage Association is the national trade organization representing the broad spectrum of companies that manufacture and distribute non-alcoholic beverages in the United States, including regular and diet soft drinks, bottled waters and water beverages, ready-to-drink teas, sports drinks, energy drinks, 100 percent juices and juice drinks. ABA and its member companies have a longstanding commitment to being part of the solution to obesity. For more information, please visit www.deliveringchoices.org and www.ameribev.org.
“We look forward to your comments on this landmark decision,” says Wyman. “Please post your comments below.”
Pat Wyman is the founder and CEO of HowtoLearn.com, college Instructor for teachers and the best-selling author of several books that include information on how food impacts learning. Wyman has long been committed to help people improve their learning and predicted, in her first book in 1997, that type 2 diabetes levels would rise with higher sugar consumption.