It is a reality that the United States is facing at this time, health-wise: that obesity has risen to epidemic proportions, even among children. And among the foods that are being singled out as one of the primary causes of obesity are soft drinks.
Dr. David Ludwig, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Children’s Hospital in Boston, said: â€œSoft drinks and sugar-containing beverages are the low hanging fruit in public health todayâ€¦ Many children are consuming 300 calories per day or more, just in sugar-containing beverages. Compare the challenge of giving up three glasses of sugary beverages, versus getting them to do two hours of moderate physical activity.â€
Those who are in the soft drink industry, however, said that these sugary drinks are being unfairly singled out in the fight against obesity. Karen Hanretty, Vice-President of Public Affairs for the American Beverage Association, shared: â€œConsumption of added sugars is going downâ€¦ Soda consumption has declined, even as obesity has increased. To say that sugar is solely responsible for obesity, doesn’t make sense.â€
The hugely popular Coca-Cola, on the other hand, revealed that it has adapted to meet consumer demand, according to Vice President and Chief Scientific Regulatory Officer Rhona Applebaum. Consumers have increasingly favored low-sugar products, with Diet Coke and Coke Zero making up 41% of Coke’s North American soda sales. She shared: â€œOur products are part of a balanced, sensible diet, and they can be enjoyed as a valuable part of any meal, including snacks.â€