Decline in soda consumption and its relationship to public policy

Read The Decline of Big Soda by Margot Sanger-Katz in the New York Times. Sanger-Katz explains:

Over the last 20 years, sales of full-calorie soda in the United States have plummeted by more than 25 percent. Soda consumption, which rocketed from the 1960s through 1990s, is now experiencing a serious and sustained decline. * * * Sales of bottled water have shot up, and bottled water is now on track to overtake soda as the largest beverage category in two years, according to at least one industry projection. The drop in soda consumption represents the single largest change in the American diet in the last decade and is responsible for a substantial reduction in the number of daily calories consumed by the average American child. From 2004 to 2012, children consumed 79 fewer sugar-sweetened beverage calories a day, according to a large government survey, representing a 4 percent cut in calories over all. As total calorie intake has declined, obesity rates among school-age children appear to have leveled off.

The article goes on to explain that the reduction in soda consumption in Philadelphia has been particularly pronounced.  Soda consumption by Philly teenagers dropped by 24% between 2007 and 2014.

Why? Perhaps it is the city's comprehensive regulatory and publicity campaign led by Philly mayor Michael Nutter. The city has one of the country's strictest menu-labeling and calorie-disclosure laws. Sugary sodas are banned in the public schools, and their availability is limited in vending machines more generally. The city also runs TV and radio ads encouraging parents to keep their kids away from sugary drinks and sends nutrition educators into the schools. And Philadelphia offers financial incentives for corner grocers to feature healthy foods.

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