Today’s Solutions: January 19, 2022

Americans consume a lot of sugar, but when it comes to sugary beverages, people are actually trending towards healthier habits. According to a study from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the percentage of heavy sugar-sweetened beverage consumers decreased from 13 percent to 9 percent from 2003 to 2016. 

Heavy consumers are defined as those who drink more than 500 calories of sugary drinks per day. To put that in perspective, one 12-ounce can of regular cola has about 140 calories

The researchers used data from 20,000 children and 30,000 adults in their analysis. In children specifically, heavy sugar beverage consumption dropped from 11 percent to 3 percent. 

These results demonstrate that efforts to reduce sugary beverage consumption have been effective. These include increased public awareness about the negative effects of high sugar consumption as well as efforts by The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association to tighten healthy beverage ordinances. Some cities have imposed additional taxes on sugary beverages to dissuade consumption and implemented policies to make sugary beverages less available to children such as removing them from school cafeterias and grocery store checkout lines. 

Despite these positive results, there is still work to be done. The percentage of sugary beverages consumed by those 60 years old and older actually increased in the surveyed time period. Fortunately, this evidence shows us what works and what doesn’t when it comes to influencing public health. Now, officials can continue working on new strategies to promote healthy habits and continue this trend.

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