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


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.

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Dr. Eduardo J. Simoes reports grants from NIH/NIDDK. This publication was partially funded by Grant Number 1P30DK092950 from the NIDDK, and its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the NIDDK.

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Yilin Yoshida and Eduardo J. Simoes declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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This article is part of the Topical Collection on Economics and Policy in Diabetes

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Yoshida, Y., Simoes, E.J. Sugar-Sweetened Beverage, Obesity, and Type 2 Diabetes in Children and Adolescents: Policies, Taxation, and Programs. Curr Diab Rep 18, 31 (2018).

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  • Sugar-sweetened beverage
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Children and adolescents
  • Policies and programs