Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages (CSAB) is launching a three-year multi-million dollar alliance to support the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The pair will focus on fighting obesity and diabetes in the US.

As part of the relationship, CSAB has committed to support ADA programs nationally and locally, including Weight Loss Matters and America's Walk for Diabetes. CSAB will incorporate outreach activities using media, promotions, retail programs and grassroots events to increase consumer awareness of health and wellness, and the importance of making smarter nutritional choices.

"We are thrilled to have CSAB join forces with the ADA to help deliver crucial messages to consumers about healthy lifestyle changes," said Larry Ellingson, RPh, chair of the board of the American Diabetes Association. "Working together, we can get consumers the tools and solutions they need to reach and maintain a healthy weight and incorporate more physical activity into their lives - all key to the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes."

The CSAB sponsorship will involve support of the American Diabetes Association's Weight Loss Matters initiative, which was launched in 2003 to educate people about the link between overweight/obesity and type 2 diabetes and to facilitate dialogue about weight loss between physicians and patients. CSAB will support the second phase of the Weight Loss Matters, which will have a primary goal of providing more tools and solutions for individuals to increase success in achieving their weight loss and weight management efforts.

As part of the agreement, CSAB will incorporate Weight Loss Matters healthy living messages in its promotional, advertising and point-of-sale materials. These messages will focus on the importance of reducing calories and controlling portion sizes and will promote the benefits of physical activity, with an emphasis on walking.

"This is a cooperative approach that we believe is necessary if we are really going to make progress in the fight against obesity and diabetes in America," said Jim Trebilcock, CSAB senior vice president of marketing. "Many people with diabetes enjoy drinking soft drinks. We believe that our wide portfolio of calorie free beverages, including well-known brands such as Diet Dr Pepper, Diet Snapple and Diet Rite, give people choice and control in managing their diabetes."

To reinforce the importance of physical activity, CSAB will also be a national sponsor of ADA's signature fundraising event, America's Walk for Diabetes. As a national sponsor, the company will help increase awareness of and participation in the event through retail promotions. This year, it is hoped that more than 150,000 walkers will participate in the ADA's America's Walk for Diabetes to promote the importance of physical activity in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. CSAB corporate teams will also participate in Walk events.

"CSAB is taking an important step by demonstrating that a company can lend its infrastructure, marketing tools and consumer connections to assist an organisation like ADA in extending the reach of its messages," said Ellingson. "We hope this will serve as a model for other industries."