Today almost one-third of children in the United States are obese or overweight. Many studies have demonstrated a link between obesity and the consumption of sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB). NPLAN has the resources you need for developing regulatory policies to address the availability of SSB for children in your community.
According to nutritional standards, sugar-sweetened beverages such as non-diet soft drinks, energy drinks, sweet teas, and sports drinks offer little or no nutritional value but include massive quantities of added sugars. For example, a 12-ounce can of soda contains the equivalent of approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar; the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that a person eating a 2,200-calorie diet should eat no more than 12 teaspoons of refined sugar in a day. Americans consume more SSBs than ever before. Between 1977 and 2002, consumption of SSBs doubled.
Many public health advocates see cutting down on the excessive consumption of SSBs as a clear obesity prevention policy strategy. As such, we have created a collection of resources for advocates and policy makers who want to address this issue. Resources range from fact sheets on how to create healthy vending agreements in school districts, to policy briefs describing the benefits of implementing an SSB regulatory fee at the state or local level.
If you are unable to find what you are looking for here, you can contact us directly for one-on-one legal and policy technical assistance.
Understand the Industry
To counter the health related impact of SSBs, advocates and policymakers need to learn more about the soft drink industry, from manufacturing and distribution to marketing and sales.
- Breaking Down the Chain: A Guide to the Soft Drink Industry provides clear, straightforward information about the inner workings of an industry that has held a powerful place in American culture for more than a century.
Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxes
One strategy for reducing SSB consumption is to increase the prices of these beverages. In order to do this, states can implement SSB excise taxes, levied on the manufacturers or distributors of the beverages. If these taxes are passed along to the consumer, the shelf price of SSBs will increase, potentially reducing demand for the products. SSB taxes have an added advantage of raising revenue that can be earmarked for obesity prevention.
- NPLAN’s Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Legislation provides guidance on how to create a state-level SSB excise tax.
- The Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Legislation Findings supplements the Model Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Legislation and provides an accompanying set of evidence-backed facts, or “findings” to support the argument for implementing the SSB tax.
Healthy Beverage Vending Agreement
SSBs can also be regulated through healthy beverage vending agreements in schools and other government facilities. By developing nutritional guidelines for the types of drinks that are sold in schools and enforcing them through vending contracts, communities and schools can limit exposure to SSBs while making healthy food and drinks the easier choice for children.
- Developing a Healthy Beverage Vending Agreement outlines key considerations for schools developing a healthy vending contract and provides strategies for how to regulate beverages with minimal nutritional value.
- Model Healthy Beverage Vending Agreement Contract gives nutrition advocates and school districts the language and tools necessary to negotiate a healthy vending agreement.
- District Policy Establishing a Healthy Vending Program provides model wellness policy language designed for school districts creating healthy vending programs.
School Food and Beverage Advertising Restrictions
Another way to discourage consumption of SSBs among children is to lessen their exposure to the advertising of unhealthy food and drinks. Regulating the marketing that occurs in schools - places where children spend most of their time - can significantly reduces children’s exposure to these types of advertisements. By creating policies that prohibit and regulate advertising of unhealthy food and beverages, schools create an environment that minimizes commercial distractions while also helping students make informed choices about what they eat and drink.
- Restricting Food and Beverage Advertising in Schools is a fact sheet that outlines the steps advocates can take to create a school district policy restricting and regulating unhealthy food and beverage advertising on school grounds.
- District Policy Restricting Food and Beverage Advertising on School Grounds is a model policy designed to give school districts the tools and language necessary to restrict the advertising of unhealthy products on schools grounds.
- District Policy Restricting the Advertising of Food and Beverages Not Permitted to be Sold on School Grounds is a model policy designed to complement policies that already restrict the sale of unhealthy food and beverages on school grounds.
Toy Giveaway Ordinances
Restaurants that give away toys or prizes with kids’ meals strongly influence kids’ food and beverage requests. Often kids’ meals offered at restaurants have minimal nutritional value and are accompanied by a sugar-sweetened drink. One strategy for reducing children’s consumption of SSBs is establish nutrition standards for toy giveaways with kids’ meals.
- The Healthier Toy Giveaway Meals Model Ordinance provides tools and language for local governments that want to regulate the nutritional content of restaurant meals that are accompanied by a toy or other prize.
Obesity Prevention Resolution
An obesity prevention resolution can provide a foundation for future SSB regulation by acknowledging the need to reduce the excessive consumption of unhealthy drinks. This type of resolution can also serve as the first step a government takes in affirming their commitment to improving children’s health.
- The Model Obesity Prevention Resolution is a model document designed for communities that want to implement and promote obesity prevention policies. It provides language that promotes access to healthy food and discourages the availability of unhealthy options in schools, parks, hospitals, and other public areas.