Our industry's leading companies took a bold leap three years ago. Working with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, our companies developed national School Beverage Guidelines that cut calories in schools by capping them, reducing portion sizes and removing all full-calorie soft drinks.

The ASAE & the Center for Association Leadership awarded the American Beverage Association and its members the Award of Excellence for its School Beverage Guidelines and the positive leadership the initiative is providing to a social issue, in this case school nutrition. This is the second straight year ASAE has recognized the School Beverage Guidelines. Our industry is in the final year of a three-year implementation process and clearly our progress in cutting calories in schools by 58 percent so far is making an impression. Go to www.schoolbeverages.com for more information on our initiative.

More important to us, the guidelines are making a difference for children - reinforcing for them the importance of calorie balance in maintaining a healthy weight, something they're certainly learning in the classroom. By doing so, we're helping to give students skills that will last a lifetime.

Again, our nation does need to take meaningful steps to improve the health care system and reduce childhood obesity. Innovative and pragmatic programs like the School Beverage Guidelines are going to provide a lasting and meaningful solution to complex problems that will require a comprehensive set of solutions. We're proud to do our part. And we're humbly thankful that our peers appreciate the unique contributions we're making to the betterment of our society.