David Snyder

Research Synthesis: Sugar-Sweetened Beverages (SSBs) not kids' BFF

More kids are drinking too many sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), and the impact on health isn't good. Not news, for sure, but the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has just issued a concise research synthesis detailing the grim story and offering some ideas for next steps in addressing the problem.

"The Negative Impact of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages on Children's Health" tells the story of steadily rising SSB consumption by children and adolescents over the last 30 years—consistent across age, gender, and socioeconomic status. More kids are drinking ever-larger quantities of SSBs more often, from teenagers guzzling soda to toddlers downing sugary fruit drinks. This, in turn, is contributing to obesity and reducing intake of key nutrients by replacing more healthful beverages. Caffeine intake also brings a host of problems, such as anxiety and poor sleep.

What's the solution? The paper urges research focusing on "evaluating broadly applicable interventions and policy approaches to reducing SSB consumption among children and adolescents. Increased attention also should be paid to shifting norms and preferences related to SSBs and other beverages among children, adolescents, and parents."

We've seen recent efforts to reduce availability of sugary beverages in schools and even moves by companies like Coke to make calorie labeling more prominent, but it remains to be seen if any of these efforts will be effective in bending the troubling curve.

What do you think will be most effective in creating a healthier, happier medium when it comes to kids and sugary drinks?

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