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

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

February 2022

The Impact of Pictorial Health Warnings on Purchases of Sugary Drinks for Children: A Randomized Controlled Trial

This study aimed to examine the impact of pictorial warnings on parents’ purchases of sugary drinks for their children in a naturalistic store laboratory. Parents of children ages 2 to 12 (n = 325, 25% identifying as Black, 20% Hispanic) completed a shopping task in a naturalistic store laboratory in North Carolina. Participants were randomly More

January 2022

Front-of-package claims & imagery on fruit-flavored drinks and exposure by household demographics

Young children regularly consume sugary fruit drinks, in part because parents may falsely believe they are healthful due to front-of-package (FOP) claims and imagery. The goal of this study was to assess: 1) the prevalence of FOP claims/imagery on fruit-flavored beverages purchased by U.S. households with 0-5-year-olds, and 2) proportional differences in beverages purchased with More

December 2021

Text Messages to Curb Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption among Pregnant Women and Mothers: A Mobile Health Randomized Controlled Trial

Racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in childhood obesity in the United States originate in early life. Maternal sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption is an early life risk factor for later offspring obesity. The goal of this study was to test the effects of policy-relevant messages delivered by text messages mobile devices (mHealth) on maternal SSB consumption. More