Sugary drinks are an important pill in many children's diets. The ubiquity, the low cost, the smooth marketing and the sweet taste of soda, sports drinks and fruit-flavored drinks appeal to all children. As adults, we need to do more to protect our children from the actual and permanent damage that these beverages pose to the health of our children.
For years pediatricians and the public health community have been trying different strategies to make children eat less sugar. We talk to patients and families about healthy eating. We recommend that children eat more fruits and vegetables and avoid sugary drinks. We share the strong evidence that too much sugar has diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay, and countless other health problems.
Unfortunately, this important health-related message is drowned by a beverage industry that floods our kids with ads that make sugary drinks fun, safe and even healthy. The results speak for themselves. The beverage industry was rewarded financially for its efforts, with the typical US child consuming over 30 liters of sugary drinks each year. That's enough to fill a bathtub. In the 201
We agree that it is important to make good individual choices and to promote healthy housing. However, it is equally important to create public policies and an environment in which healthier options and choices are available and promoted. From experience, we have learned that education and public policy are a combination to curb drunk driving, reduce tobacco use and combat alcohol abuse. Similar public health initiatives are needed to reduce the consumption of sugary drinks in children and adolescents and reduce the 40,000 deaths in the United States each year as a result of consuming too many sugary drinks.
In a new policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association advocate several public health measures to reduce the intake of children with sugary drinks, including increased taxes, reduced marketing of children and adolescents, and milk and milk Water as standard Options for children's restaurant menus, implementation of nutrition and warning signs, and support for hospital policies that restrict or deter purchase.
These guidelines work. Price increases are accompanied by declines in consumption. The increase in tobacco taxes has led to a sharp decline in cigarette consumption in states and communities across the country, especially among children and those with lower socioeconomic status. Alcohol taxes have reduced excessive alcohol consumption and alcohol-related collisions with motor vehicles.
The taxes on sugary drinks show a similar trend. They have successfully reduced consumption in cities like Berkeley, California, San Francisco and Philadelphia, especially in populations with higher-than-average heart disease and diabetes. The revenue from these taxes will also equip children for a healthier future, from expanding pre-K programs, to supporting community schools, to upgrading parks and recreational opportunities. States like California, Connecticut and Massachusetts are considering tax legislation on sugary drinks and we wholeheartedly endorse these legislative proposals.
There is some momentum in other policies reaffirmed in the Joint Statement:
- California, New York City and Baltimore and other jurisdictions have passed legislation to ensure that healthier beverages, including milk and water, are approved , are standard in kids menus. Even the American Beverage Association approved the law of New York City.
- Next year, the Nutrition Facts label will be updated for many packaged foods and drinks with added sugars. This change will help prevent an estimated 1 million cases of cardiovascular disease and diabetes nationwide.
- Chain restaurants across the country must now include calorie information in their menus and provide consumers with additional nutrition information upon request, resulting in a net savings of $ 8 billion in health care over the next 20 years.
Every child deserves to grow up healthy. We can promote healthy beverage opportunities and prevent the consumption of sugary drinks through proven policy initiatives such as taxes, menu changes and nutrition education. Children and families across the country will reap the benefits.
Pediatrician and Nutritionist Natalie Muth was the lead author of the recently published official statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association entitled "Public Policies to Reduce Child Alcoholic Drinking". Rachel Johnson is a former chairman of the Nutrition Committee of the American Heart Association.