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Policies Recommended to Reduce Sugary Drink Intake in Youth

MONDAY, March 25, 2019 -- In a joint policy statement published online March 25 in Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association have endorsed a number of public health measures designed to reduce sugary drink consumption among children and adolescents.

Natalie D. Muth, M.D., M.P.H., from the Children's Primary Care Medical Group in Carlsbad, California, and colleagues present policy strategies to help reduce sugary drink consumption in children and adolescents.

The authors recommend that local, state, and/or national policies intended to reduce added sugar consumption should include consideration of approaches that increase the price of sugary drinks (e.g., excise tax); these taxes should be accompanied by education for all stakeholders on the rationale and benefits of the tax. Federal and state governments should support efforts to reduce marketing of sugary drinks to children and adolescents. Federal nutrition assistance programs should aim to encourage healthful food and beverage access and discourage sugary drink consumption. Credible nutrition information, including information on nutrition labels, restaurant menus, and advertisements, should be readily accessible to children, adolescents, and their families. Policies that make healthy beverages the default should be adopted widely, according to the statement. Hospitals should serve as a model and should limit or disincentivize purchase of sugary drinks.

"Pediatricians may tailor their advocacy efforts to approaches that are most likely to lead to decreased access to and consumption of sugary drinks in the children and families they serve, whether on a local, state, or federal level," the authors write.

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Posted: March 2019

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