Sugar-Sweetened Beverage, Obesity, and Type 2 Diabetes in Children and Adolescents: Policies, Taxation, and Programs

Curr Diab Rep. 2018 Apr 18;18(6):31. doi: 10.1007/s11892-018-1004-6.


Purpose of review: Obesity has grown at an alarming rate in children and adolescents. Concurrently, consumption on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) also rose significantly. This review provides an overview of obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) related to SSBs and current policies restricting SSBs in schools, school-based interventions, and taxation on reducing SSB intake and obesity. We also discuss challenges of and future steps for these initiatives.

Recent findings: Clinical and epidemiological studies suggest a strong association between SSB intake and obesity and T2DM. School food policies have been initiated at federal, state, and local levels. School-based interventions have shown positive effects on SSB intake and obesity reduction. Taxation on SSBs is promising in combating obesity and in generating revenue. Challenges towards compliance and implementation of the policies and programs exist. The relationship between SSB and obesity and T2DM is a complex problem which requires comprehensive solutions. Continued efforts in restricting SSBs in schools are needed. Intervention programs should be tailored to age, gender, language, and culture and involve participation from families and local communities. Taxation can reduce SSB consumption by direct economic incentive, earmarking revenues to support healthy foods, and sending negative message. However, a higher tax rate may be necessary to have a measurable effect on weight.

Keywords: Children and adolescents; Obesity; Policies and programs; Sugar-sweetened beverage; Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Beverages / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / economics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / economics
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Policy*
  • Sugars / adverse effects*
  • Sweetening Agents / adverse effects*
  • Taxes*


  • Sugars
  • Sweetening Agents