With sugary sodas and other sweetened drinks considered a key driver of the obesity epidemic worldwide, a new Cochrane research review evaluates how well various measures work to reduce consumption of these calorie laden drinks.
Strategies including limited availability of sodas in schools, removal from children’s menus at restaurants and better labeling could help reduce consumption.
The researchers pored through the literature looking for studies that evaluated environmental strategies for reducing sugary drink consumption (i.e., strategies that changed the physical or social setting in which a person chooses what drink to consume or buy). Fifty-eight studies involving a total of more than 1 million adults, teens and children were identified. Most lasted about a year and were done in schools, stores or restaurants.
The researchers found evidence supporting a number of measures that appeared to help people cut back on sugary drinks. These included:
- Labels that were easy to understand and that rated the healthfulness of beverages
- Limits on availability of sugary sodas in schools
- Price increases on sugary sodas in restaurants, stores and leisure centers
- Inclusions of healthier beverages in children’s menus
- Promotion of healthier beverages in supermarkets
What makes these sugary beverages especially bad for health is the fact that they contain “empty calories”; essentially you are drinking sugar.
The new study highlights the importance of education, especially for kids. What we learn in childhood carries with us into adulthood.
Source: The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, online June 12, 2019.
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