Inappropriate intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit juice, and whole milk is associated with obesity and obesity-related comorbidities. As numerous children spend many hours in schools and child care, these settings provide a potential means for general pediatricians to reach children and their parents with interventions to encourage intake of guideline-recommended beverages. This review describes the beverages currently offered within child care facilities and schools and summarizes school and child care-based interventions and policies to encourage healthy beverage intake.
The major sources of beverages available in schools and child care include beverages provided through federal programs, competitive beverages (e.g., beverages for purchase through vending machines), water from drinking fountains, and beverages brought into facilities. Policies governing the types of beverages available in schools and child care settings have increased, but still vary in scope and jurisdiction. Although there are no child care-based interventions that exclusively target beverage intake, there are examples of school-based interventions to encourage healthy beverage consumption.
In summary, although interventions and policies to encourage healthy beverage intake in schools and child care are increasing, there is a need for additional research, programs, and policies to guide beverage availability and intake in these settings.