Despite the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans’ recommendation to limit added sugar intake to less than 10 percent of daily calories for children 2 years and older, almost two thirds of children ages 2 to 5 do not meet this recommendation, with the largest source of added sugars in their diet coming from sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). And, despite recommendations that children younger than 2 years avoid SSBs entirely,  many infants and toddlers are also frequently drinking these beverages.

To reduce SSB consumption among young children and to promote health and well-being, dual strategies to decrease SSB consumption and increase water access and promotion are needed. However, there is a lack of evidence on effective strategies to do this within the 0 to 5 age range.

This research agenda was developed by HER through a rigorous process involving experts in SSBs, water, early childhood, and populations at greatest risk for health inequities. The purpose was to fill existing knowledge gaps and inform and advance strategies and policies to improve beverage patterns and reduce inequities in consumption. This research agenda covers a breadth of topic areas that can be addressed through efforts of a variety of stakeholders such as researchers, funders, and practitioners. Addressing these questions can guide the field toward understanding how to significantly impact beverage consumption patterns, and ultimately health and well-being among 0- to 5-year-olds.