Pediatricians Call for More Regulations on Sugary Drinks to Curb Childhood Obesity
March 26, 2019
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Heart Association (AHA) are on a mission to decrease the amount of sugary drinks kids (and adults!) consume. The two organizations hope to use public policies, including a tax on soda, and education to make their message heard. Their plan is outlined in a recent news release.
By now, we all know about the damaging effects of a diet filled with an excess of sugar. It can lead to adolescent obesity, dental decay, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes mellitus, fatty liver disease and all-cause mortality. Yet, children and adolescents are constantly bombarded with clever ads promoting sugary drinks. The strategy works—some children and adolescents consume about 300 calories from sugary beverages per day, the AAP notes. Kids should aim for less than 25 grams (6 teaspoons) of added sugar per day, and no more than 8 ounces of sugary drinks per week, according to the AHA.
Public Policy Recommendations
The AAP and AHA highlighted specific changes to public policies they think will help kids drink less sugar:
- Taxes on sugary drinks accompanied by a campaign with an overview of the risks of an excess amount of sugar in your diet
- Less marketing campaigns for soda and other beverages targeting children and adolescents
- Federal nutrition assistance programs that ensure access to healthy food and beverages
- Easy access to nutritional information, including on restaurant menus and in advertisements
- Children’s meals that choose healthy beverages, such as milk and water, as the default menu option
- Hospitals should promote policies to limit the purchase of sugary drinks