Despite declines, more is needed to reduce children’s soda consumption

Philadelphia Enacts Healthy Kids’ Meal Legislation

Statement of CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson

With obesity, diabetes, and heart disease affecting millions of Americans, it is heartening to see today’s report on soft-drink consumption from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Soft drinks contribute to all those health conditions.

The study shows a decrease in daily soda consumption by high school students between 2007 and 2015.  (However, those reductions do not reflect increased consumption of energy and sports drinks).  At the same time, one in five high school students is still drinking one soda a day (most 12-ounce sodas contain about 10 teaspoons of added sugars).  The American Heart Association has recommended that high-schoolers consume no more than six teaspoons of added sugars a day and should not drink more than one eight-ounce sugar drink a week.  

It is also good to see that similar declines were seen among whites, blacks, and Latinos and that declines were seen in schools with varying levels of participation in free- and reduced-price lunch programs. 

Clearly, we should continue to implement effective education campaigns and policy interventions, such as sugar-drink taxes and warning labels, to protect our children’s health.