Early childhood is a critical period for developing food preferences and dietary patterns. Despite dietary recommendations to limit or eliminate sugary drinks in early childhood, children ages 0 to 5 frequently drink these beverages. There is currently a lack of evidence on effective policy, systems, and environmental strategies to reduce sugary drink consumption and provide and promote water among children ages 0 to 5.
Healthy Eating Research (HER) recently released a national research agenda to address this evidence gap. HER used a rigorous, structured approach to develop the agenda, including conducting systematic literature reviews, surveying practitioners, and convening a scientific advisory committee, which included several National Drinking Water Alliance allies.
HER’s national research agenda presents thirteen key issues as priorities for future research efforts:
Measures of consumption and baseline understanding of consumption patterns
Beverages in the food retail environment
Recommendations for beverage consumption in early childhood
Retail price of SSBs and water
Beverage marketing and counter-marketing strategies
SSB and water message testing and campaigns
Fruit-flavored drinks and artificially sweetened drinks
Long-term studies related to SSBs and water
Health care interventions to improve beverage consumption patterns
Access to safe water and tap water perception
Achieving equity in beverage consumption patterns and addressing the social determinants of health
Beverage consumption in child care settings
HER has also made a special funding opportunity available to improve healthy beverage consumption among young children. Applications will be accepted through October 3, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. ET. Each grant will award up to $300,000 for up to 24 months. Projects must be able to inform the development of policy and environmental strategies and must have a clear impact on 0-5 year olds. Visit the HER website to view the full call for proposals and frequently asked questions.