In Response to ‘Coke, Pepsi, and the Obesity Time Bomb’

By William Dermody, American Beverage Association
June 30, 2016 Updated: June 30, 2016

Dear Editor,

Michael Jacobson’s recent opinion piece, “Coke, Pepsi, and the Obesity Time Bomb,” June 29, misleads your readers, suggesting that eliminating a single product from the diet will somehow drive down obesity rates.

However, Jacobson’s opinion is not based on scientific data and his opinion piece omits the fact that in the U.S.—one of only a handful of countries that have reliable health statistics—obesity and diabetes rates have gone up as soft drink consumption has gone down. The opposite would happen if the two are linked.

Additionally, calories and sugars from beverages are down dramatically. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says added sugars in soft drinks are down 39 percent since 2000. Beverages in the global community are no more a unique driver of obesity or diabetes than they are in the U.S.

Our beverage companies are good global citizens who follow responsible marketing practices and have innovated a wide variety of product offerings, including greatly increased lower- and no-calorie options in the marketplace. The global beverage industry is proud of the important role it plays in the global economy and the steady jobs it provides to hundreds of thousands of people who depend on beverage sales for all or part of their livelihoods. Our industry provides significant tax revenues that help fund government programs in developing nations. Beverage companies have given billions of dollars in charitable donations to improve the communities where employees work and live.

These companies have also come together to create the Global Guidelines on Marketing to Children, which have transformed the landscape of children’s advertising, ensuring parents and caregivers are better able to determine what beverages are appropriate for their children. The Guidelines state that there can be no marketing communications where 35 percent or more of the audience consists of children under the age of 12, and comprehensively cover company-controlled TV, radio, print, cinema, and online marketing.

In addition, members agree not to engage in marketing communications to children in primary schools. Since 2009, the International Council of Beverages Association (ICBA) has ensured independent and impartial monitoring of member companies’ compliance with these global guidelines, with results showing over 94 percent compliance in every market analyzed.

Our member companies are all about delivering for their employees, customers, consumers, and communities—and will continue to deliver on their commitment to responsible marketing, just as they remain committed to providing consumers with a variety of options and empowering them with the information they need to make informed choices.

Sincerely,

William Dermody
Vice President, Policy
American Beverage Association

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.