For three years, New York City has been campaigning in subway advertising to reduce sugared soft drinks consumption.
“Americans are literally drinking themselves fat,” says the New York Commissioner in charge.
- 35% of US adults and 17% of youths – some 90 million people – are obese, reports Businessweek.
- The financial cost of obesity was $147bn in 2008, according to one estimate.
The US soft drinks industry is now fighting back with its own campaign.
- “Calories from sugar-sweetened beverages make up only 7% of the calories in the American diet,” replies the American Beverage Association.
- “Sales of regular soft drinks declined by 12.5% from 1999 to 2010. Obesity rates continued to rise.”
- “Calories from soda are down 39% since 2000 … yet, obesity continued to rise.”
- There’s been a “23% reduction in the average calories per serving since 1998.”
The industry has also introduced front-of-pack calorie counts, stopped advertising to children under 12, removed sugared soft drinks from schools and reduced some pack sizes.
Obesity clearly requires everyone’s active attention. The debate needs to be properly informed. I’d rather have this improved choice than no choice.
Richard Hall is chairman of Zenith International