Food Marketing > Sugary Drinks


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Sugary drinks are the leading source of empty calories in the diets of children and teens and directly contribute to diet-related diseases, including obesity and diabetes. Yet, research shows that marketing for sugary sodas, sports drinks and fruit drinks targets children and teens, including Hispanic and Black youth; exposure to soft drink advertising increases consumption; and nutrition claims on product packaging can mislead parents about the healthfulness of children’s drinks.

Policy options, including sugary drink taxes and healthier kids’ meal legislation, increasingly focus on reducing sugary drink consumption by children and teens.

Rudd Center Research

  • Sugary Drink FACTS 2020. Sugary drink advertising to youth: Continued barrier to public health progress. June 2020.
  • Sugary Drink FACTS 2014. Sugary drink marketing to youth: Some progress but much room to improve. November 2014.
  • Munsell, C., Harris, J.L., Sarda, V., & Schwartz, M.B. (2016). Parents’ beliefs about the healthfulness of sugary drink options: Opportunities to address misperceptions. Public Health Nutrition, 19(1), 46-54.
  • Andreyeva, T., Kelly, I., & Harris, J.L. (2011). Exposure to food advertising on television: Associations with children’s fast food and soft drink consumption and obesity. Economics and Human Biology, 9(3), 221-233.


  • How do children’s drinks and other sugary drinks rank? Discover nutrition information for your favorite drinks and see how they compare to others: Sugary Drink Nutrition Ranking
  • In addition to sugar, many sugary drinks contain artificial colors, zero-calorie sweeteners, and caffeine. Use this Drink Nutrition search tool to find out more. 
  • Responses to commonly held beliefs about sugary drinks: Common Sugary Drink Myths
  • Research shows that what children drink from birth through age five has a big impact on their health – both now and for years to come. The nation’s leading health organizations agree that for most kids, these recommendations can help to set children on a path for healthy growth and development: Healthy Eating Research Beverage Consensus Statement