The largest source of added sugar in kids’ diets is sugary drinks. Most research indicates that consumption of sugary drinks is linked to higher rates of weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and dental cavities. Substituting healthier beverages, such as water, could reduce over-consumption of calories and improve nutrition and health outcomes.
While individuals should choose healthy beverages over sugary drinks, there is a serious need for cost-effective interventions and policies that decrease access to sugary drinks while improving access to free, safe, and cold water. The HPRC is working with The Boston Public Health Commission, Boston Public Schools, and providers of afterschool programs, such as the YMCA, Boys and Girls Club of Boston, and the Boston Centers for Youth and Families to create environments that are free of sugary drinks. Below you will find:
- Lessons to use with elementary and middle school students and in afterschool programs to teach kids the importance of limiting sugary drinks and consuming more water;
- Tips for making your afterschool program an environment free of sugary drinks;
- Sample materials for communicating these messages to parents and families;
- Examples of policies to decrease access to sugary drinks and increase access to free, safe, and cold water;
- Academic journal articles providing an evidence base for the importance of limiting sugary drinks to improve health and reduce overweight and chronic disease risk;
- And more!
An interdisciplinary elementary school program designed to promote healthful eating and physical activities in school, home, and community environments.
Sample Lesson: Lesson 7: Sugar Water: Think About Your Drink
Sample Parent Newsletter Article: Be Sugar Smart
An interdisciplinary curriculum focused on improving the health and well-being of sixth through eighth grade students while building and reinforcing skills in language arts, math, science, social studies, and physical education.
Sample Lesson: Lesson 19: Passing the Sugar
Sample Parent Newsletter Articles and E-mail Messages: Be Sugar Smart
Fact Sheets: Healthy Hydration
A curriculum designed to develop healthy habits out of school time.
September 6, 2011 Boston Public Health Commission Press Release: Mayor Menino, Boston Public Health Commission launch awareness campaign against sugary drinks
- August 10, 2011 Boston Globe article, Sugar withdrawal on the evaluation of the 2004 policy restricting the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages in Boston Public Schools
- April 07, 2011 City of Boston Press Release: Mayor Menino Issues Order to End Sugary Drink Sales on City Property
- The HPRC’s Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Initiative is conducting research on policies related to improving access to healthy and economical beverages and reducing access to sugary beverages in Massachusetts and Maine.
Gortmaker SL, Swinburn BA, Levy D, Carter R, Mabry PL, Finegood DT, Huang T, Marsh T, Moodie ML.Changing the future of obesity: science, policy, and action. Lancet. 2011 Aug 27;378(9793):838-47.
Cradock AL, McHugh A, Mont-Ferguson H, Grant L, Barrett JL, Wang C, Gortmaker SL. Effect of school district policy change on consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages among high school students, Boston, Massachusetts, 2004-2006. Prev Chronic Dis 2011;8(4):A74.
Bleich SN, Wang YC, Wang Y, Gortmaker SL. Increasing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages among US adults: 1988-1994 to 1999-2004. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jan;89(1):372-81. Epub 2008 Dec 3.
Wang YC, Ludwig DS, Sonneville K, Jiang H, Gortmaker SL. Impact of change in sweetened caloric beverages on energy intake among children and adolescents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2009 Apr;163(4):336-43.
Wang YC, Bleich SN, Gortmaker SL. Increasing caloric contribution from sugar-sweetened beverages and 100% fruit juices among US children and adolescents, 1988-2004. Pediatrics. 2008 Jun;121(6):e1604-14.
Wiecha JL, Finkelstein D, Troped PJ, Fragala M, Peterson KE. School vending machine use and fast-food restaurant use are associated with sugar-sweetened beverage intake in youth. J Am Diet Assoc. 2006 Oct;106(10):1624-30.
Ludwig DS, Ebbeling CB, Peterson KE, Gortmaker SL. Hard facts about soft drinks. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004 Mar;158(3):290.
Ludwig DS, Peterson KE, Gortmaker SL. Relation between consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and childhood obesity: a prospective, observational analysis. Lancet. 2001 Feb 17; 357(9255):505–8.
- Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity – Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxes featuring a revenue calculator, policy briefs, press releases, and publications.
- The Nutrition Source – Healthy Drinks including information on the amount of sugar in different beverages, health risks associated with sugary drinks, and more.
- Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network (NOPREN) with examples of nutrition- and obesity-related policy research and evaluation.