By Alex DeMetrick

BALTIMORE (WJZ) —  Sugary drinks have been under fire for the part they play in the fattening of America.

Alex DeMetrick reports Coca-Cola is now weighing in, saying it wants to be part of the solution to the obesity epidemic.

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For decades, Coca-Cola ads have pitched its product as a wholesome refreshment….so good, even cuddly polar bears warm up to it.

But obesity — especially among children — has produced a growing movement to limit America’s intake of sugary drinks.

Now, a new ad by Coca-Cola is pitching the company’s lower calorie offerings.

In a statement, the Coca-Cola Company says, “There’s a conversation going on about how to address obesity, and we want to be part of the conversation.”

It’s a conservation many trace back to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his order limiting the sugary fountain drinks sold in the city.

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“Sugar drink consumption is a key driver of the obesity epidemic in the United States,” he said.

In Maryland, some school districts now restrict high calorie drinks in vending machines.  Coca-Cola says it’s been doing that for years.

“For elementary, middle and high schools, our industry has voluntarily changed its offerings to primarily water, juices and low and no calorie options,” said the commercial.

In Howard County, where 10 tons of sand represented the amount of sugar one school could drink in a year, sugary drinks are banned in county buildings.

“I would like to thank Coca-Cola for coming to the table and being a partner.  We can get this done if we’re all working together,” said Ken Ulman, Howard County Executive.

Coke is also bringing smaller cans to that table.

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Studies show that more than 50 percent of the excess calories people consume come from sodas.