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Counting Calories… the New National Pastime

October 22, 2012
Plain English Version

From vending machines to fast food restaurants, Americans are counting calories to lower rates of obesity.

The American Heart Association says one 12-ounce regular soda has eight teaspoons of sugar. It has 130 calories and no nutritional benefits. Pepsi and Coke are going to post the number of calories in their drinks sold in vending machines in Chicago and San Antonio.

These two cities were chosen because their public employees are in a contest promoting wellness programs. The city that does the best will win $5 million. Employees can win $1,000. To win, the workers must lose weight, lower blood pressure and reach other goals. The American Beverage Association is sponsoring the contest.

Some cities are taxing sugary sodas to discourage drinking them. Other cities are trying public education. New York City banned the sale of large sodas in movies and arenas.

Pepsi, Coke and McDonalds agree that calories are important in controlling weight. Beverage industry groups say that only 7 percent of calories come from sodas.

Under the new health care law all restaurants with more than 20 locations must post calorie counts on their menus.

The New York Times

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