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US: Soft drinks companies support obesity campaign

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Major soft drinks companies in the US have backed an initiative for clearer labelling in support of Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity drive launched yesterday (9 February).

The 'Let's Move' drive is designed to cut obesity levels among children in the country. The campaign, launched by US President Barack Obama's wife, has been drawn up in a bid to encourage US families to eat more healthily and exercise more.

The push has been launched in tandem with The Partnership for a Healthier America, an independent NGO set up to "solve the child obesity challenge".

Following the move, major soft drinks firms, including The Coca-Cola Co, Dr Pepper Snapple Group, PepsiCo, Nestle Waters North America and Sunny Delight, will coordinate with the Food and Drug Administration to implement an initiative that will see clearer calorie information printed on the front of products.

Calorie information will also appear on vending machines and fountain machines.

"The beverage industry is taking the extra step of making the calories on its products more clear and useable for consumers so they can make balanced choices wherever they purchase our products," said Susan Neely, president of the American Beverage Association.

The new initiative will see total calorie counts displayed on the front of labels for the entire container, up to and including 20oz products. A 12oz serving size will be used in displaying calories for multi-serve beverage packages and in the case of vending machines, total calorie counts for the entire container will be displayed on the beverage selection buttons.

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