If Coca-Cola really wants to prevent obesity in kids, as they say ("Coca-Cola has taken steps to help reduce obesity," Oct. 27), they need to respect reality.

The beverage giant spends two-thirds of its marketing budget inflating sales of its most sugary drinks. The reason: Advertising works. That's why they get blamed in the obesity epidemic.

Coca-Cola does offer other choices — no- or low-calorie options we eagerly promote on our Better Beverage Finder (www.betterbeveragefinder.org/). But as long as Coke continues on its current marketing path, those options — and good parents everywhere — are at a disadvantage.

And we're losing.

The real choice is Coca-Cola's. We want them as an ally. Imagine if Coke's brilliant marketing focused on its healthiest drinks instead of its most dangerous ones. Then — and perhaps only then — will childhood obesity become a thing of the past.

Nikki Highsmith Vernick, Gene M. Ransom III and Rev. Robert A.F. Turner

The writers are, respectively, president and CEO of the Horizon Foundation, CEO of MedChi and clergy co-chairman of People Acting Together in Howard (PATH).