Q & A
Q: Is it true that the beverage industry targets children with soft drink advertising?
A: No. America’s beverage companies understand the responsibilities associated with marketing to children. That’s why, under their Global Policy on Marketing to Children, they will not advertise any products other than juice, water and milk-based drinks to any audience predominantly comprised of children under the age of 12. This policy covers a wide range of marketing outlets including television, radio, print, Internet, phone messaging and cinema, including product placement.
A 2011 review showed that between 2004-2010, soft drink advertising to children in the United States decreased by 96 percent, while it increased 199 percent for fruit and vegetable juices.
America’s beverage companies worked together to implement national School Beverage Guidelines, which were developed with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation- a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation. These guidelines removed full-calorie sodas from all schools and replaced them with a range of lower-calorie, smaller-portion choices. Keybridge Research LLC independently evaluated the effort and reported a 90 percent reduction in beverage calories shipped to schools nationwide since 2004.
The majority of added sugars in the diets of American children come from sugar-sweetened beverages.
Actually, food is the No. 1 source of added sugars in the diets of American children and adolescents, according to a March 2012 data brief from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By looking at government data, the authors found that 41 percent of added sugars in American childrens’ diets came from beverages, while 59 percent came from foods.
Additionally, the data brief shows that the percent of daily calories coming from added sugars declined between 1999-2000 and 2007-2008.