NEW YORK, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Coca-Cola Co, PepsiCo Inc , Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc and other beverage makers will begin displaying the calorie count of drinks sold in vending machines next year, a U.S. soda industry group said on Monday.
The announcement comes as studies cite links between sugary drinks and the obesity epidemic in the United States and amid growing pressure from public officials. Last month, New York City passed the first U.S. ban of oversized sugar drinks to fight obesity.
Under a new program announced by the American Beverage Association, vending machines will tell consumers how many calories are included in a soft drink, first at city government buildings in San Antonio and Chicago in 2013, then nationwide.
Calorie counts will appear on the buttons people press to pick a drink and the machines will also display a message to remind consumers to “check then choose” and “try a low calorie beverage.”
About one-third of Americans are obese, and about 10 percent of the nation’s healthcare bill is tied to obesity-related diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.