Coca Cola Co. has set up an institute to promote nutrition and help develop healthy beverages. The company announced yesterday that its Beverage Institute for Health & Wellness, based in Houston, Texas, will focus on nutrition research, education and outreach, primarily on beverages.

"The Coca-Cola Company will utilize the results of our research to develop new beverages to meet the nutritional needs of consumers worldwide," Coca Cola Vice President Donald Short told Reuters. Short will oversee the activities of the institute.

The institute will concentrate on identifying opportunities, ingredients and possible formulas that address particular health or nutritional needs.

Coke's announcement comes at a time when US obesity levels among children are constantly in the public eye.