The trade association said that proper hydration is a common nutritional thread that applies to every age group and should feature in the official Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are renewed every five years and help form the basis of nutrition labeling,
Dr Maureen Storey, senior vice president for science policy at the American Beverage Association (ABA), said: “Water is an essential nutrient which is vital for life and which the body cannot make itself.
“Sources of water – including drinking water, beverages and food – are the ‘nutritional glue’ for all metabolic functions in the body.
“Therefore, meeting total fluid and water requirements for proper hydration is critical for overall health and wellness - and all beverages provide hydration.”
The ABA said it wants to ensure the guidelines are based on sound science, rather than ideology, and provide Americans with realistic dietary, hydration and physical activity guidelines.
The role of beverages in the diet, particularly for children, also featured in a recent HEALTHY Study, from the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University, which looked at the nutritional value of products sold in school vending machines.
Amy Virus, senior health services coordinator for the study and president of the Pennsylvania Dietetic Association, said the long-term aim was to eliminate all drinks, except water from vending machines.
Virus told FoodNavigator-USA: “Water is the best beverage option and the industry is still making money by selling water.
“By offering only water in the vending machines and on the school’s snack bar line, we are elevating water’s profile as an important beverage and sending the message to the students that they should be choosing water as their first beverage option.”
The ABA is part of the voluntary School Beverage Guidelines scheme, which was set up in 2006, along with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, The Coca-Cola Company, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and PepsiCo.
These particular guidelines call for the beverage industry to provide lower-calorie and smaller-portion options in schools, including the removal of full-calorie soft drinks, all by the 2009-2010 school year.