This month two reports based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data showed some progress is being made in the U.S. to reduce obesity. One report by the CDC found obesity rates among low-income preschoolers in certain states declined from 2008 to 2011 and the other from the “F as in Fat" report by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, indicated obesity rates among adults appears to be stabilizing across the country. While these improvements are small and limited, these data are important because they show us what’s possible when we all work together to tackle tough issues like obesity. Despite the progress that has been made, these reports underscore the need for continued action from all sectors of society – business, government, and all sectors of the community. We must improve the awareness of what works, based on evidence and the environments where children, adults and families live, learn and play.
Together, we’ve only begun to move the needle to help change the way people of all ages think about nutrition and physical activity. At Coca-Cola, we’ve helped convert railways to walking trails with the National Park Foundation, opened NASCAR race courses for track walks, and supported the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Triple Play, which has taught millions of kids how to live a balanced life. We’ve been on the forefront of providing people with fact-based information to make it easier than ever for them to make the choices that makes sense for themselves and their families, by adding front-of-pack calorie labels on our beverages. We’re also supporting programs like Exercise is Medicine, a campaign to make physical activity and exercise a standard part of the treatment and prevention paradigm followed by all health care providers. The data are irrefutable as to the importance of being physically active and less sedentary to improve and/or maintain health.
We’ve also made significant operational and business commitments both here and abroad. As a founding member of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, we were pleased to announce that food and beverage member companies have exceeded their goal of reducing 1.5 trillion calories in the U.S. marketplace years ahead of schedule. Here in the U.S., we set a goal to inspire three million Americans to rediscover the joy of being active this summer. We are rolling out Calories Count Vending on company-owned vending machines across the country. And we’re not stopping here or focusing only at home. Just this past May, we reaffirmed four global commitments to further contribute to healthier, happier and more active communities around the world.But this is just the beginning. We will remain constructively discontent. Status quo is not good enough. Overcoming obesity will take all of us doing our part. I hope that reports like the latest from the CDC continue to show what we know to be true – moving toward a healthy future means moving forward together.
Rhona Applebaum is Vice President and Chief Science and Health Officer for The