A Breakthrough for Kids and Colas?

Here's a heads-up: on Monday, in Harlem, former President Bill Clinton and representatives from soda companies will announce that the number of extra calories per day that children consume from soft drinks has dropped significantly in the three years that the industry and the William J. Clinton Foundation have been working together.

The news comes on the heels of the industry's voluntary agreement with the Obama administration to put calorie counts on the front of all vending machines and bottles and cans of cola.

And it previews a series of important (and certainly prophylactic) initiatives by companies like Coca Cola that will be unveiled later in the year. These companies know that soda consumption accounts for a large number of extra calories that kids consume, and they don't want to be demonized for contributing to childhood obesity, or subject to aggressive new regulation -- and Obama's regulators seem to be in the regulatin' mood.

Past "voluntary" initiatives have often turned out to be punchless -- so anti-obesity advocates will be watching very carefully to see whether the companies are operating in good faith.

Note: Coca-Cola seems to be a sponsor of the site. They had nothing to do with the provenance of this reporting.