The Southern Illinoisan | August 12, 2021

With students across Illinois returning to classrooms, parents must once again consider the nutritional choices their children make while at school. The Illinois Beverage Association (IBA) understands the importance of ensuring that schools offer healthy options for students.

That’s why Illinois’ leading beverage companies—including Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper and Pepsi—have come together to support the Balance Calories Initiative, the single-largest voluntary effort by any industry to help fight obesity. Launched in 2014, the initiative aims to reduce beverage calories consumed per person nationally by 20 percent by 2025.

Independent analyses show our efforts are working. According to a recent study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the percentage of children who were heavy consumers of sugar-sweetened beverages dropped from 11 percent to 3 percent since 2003.

Illinois’ beverage companies have accomplished this by introducing smaller portion sizes, clear calorie labels, and reminders for consumers to think balanced. More importantly, our members are introducing more choices with less sugar than ever before. Since 2004, shipments of full-calorie soft drinks to schools have declined by 97 percent.

The Looking toward the new school year, Illinois’ beverage companies are doubling down on our commitment to providing healthy choices in schools.

Rob Nash
Executive Director, Illinois Beverage Association