Sugary beverages add a significant amount of sugar and calories to the diets of children and adolescents. Choosing healthy beverages, and low- or no-calorie options such as water, instead of high-calorie sugary beverages, has great potential to help children, youth, and families reduce caloric intake, improve diet quality, and reduce their risk for obesity and oral health problems. Yet, access to safe affordable drinking water is not equitable. Research in this area evaluates strategies to increase access to and consumption of healthy beverages and decrease access to and consumption of unhealthy beverages.

Research & Publications See all

July 2022

Sweetened beverage taxes: Economic benefits and costs according to household income

Taxing sweetened beverages has emerged as an important and effective policy for addressing their overconsumption. However, taxes may place a greater economic burden on people with lower incomes. We assess the degree to which sweetened beverage taxes in three large U.S. cities placed an inequitable burden on populations with lower incomes by assessing spending on More

April 2022

Child-Directed Marketing, Health Claims, and Nutrients in Popular Beverages

Fruit drinks are a major source of added sugar in children’s diets. This study describes the associations between front-of-package child-directed marketing (i.e., sports, fantasy, or child-directed imagery; child-directed text) and (1) health-related claims and (2) nutrient content of fruit drinks, 100% juices, and flavored waters. Beverage purchase data from a national sample of 1,048 households More

April 2022

Nutrition-related claims lead parents to choose less healthy drinks for young children: a randomized trial in a virtual convenience store

Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, including fruit drinks, contributes to childhood obesity. We aimed to examine whether nutrition-related claims on fruit drinks influence purchasing among parents and lead to misperceptions of healthfulness. We conducted an experiment in a virtual convenience store with 2219 parents of children ages 1-5 y. Parents were randomly assigned to view fruit More

February 2022

Marketing of sugar-sweetened children’s drinks and parents’ misperceptions about benefits for young children

Despite expert recommendations, U.S. parents often serve sugar-sweetened children’s drinks, including sweetened fruit-flavored drinks and toddler milks, to young children. This qualitative research explored parents’ understanding of common marketing tactics used to promote these drinks and whether they mislead parents to believe the drinks are healthy and/or necessary for children. We conducted nine focus groups More