Research Article| Volume 62, ISSUE 1, P9-17, January 2022

U.S. Households’ Children's Drink Purchases: 2006–2017 Trends and Associations With Marketing

Published:October 26, 2021DOI:


      Sugar-sweetened beverages contribute a large proportion of added sugar in young children's diets; yet, companies market sugar-sweetened children's drinks extensively to children and parents. This study examines the changes in children's drink purchases by U.S. households with young children and the associations with marketing practices.


      Longitudinal Nielsen U.S. household panel data provided monthly volume purchases by children's drink category (sugar-sweetened fruit drinks and flavored water and unsweetened juices) among households with young children (aged 1–5 years) from 2006 to 2017. Differences by household race/ethnicity and income were assessed. The 2-part models examined the associations between household purchases and marketing (including price and brand TV advertising) for each category, controlling for sociodemographics. Data were collected and analyzed in 2019–2020.


      Households’ volume purchases of children's fruit drinks and unsweetened juices declined from 2006 to 2017, whereas flavored water purchases increased. Non-Hispanic Black households purchased significantly more fruit drinks (351.23 fluid ounces/month, 95% CI=342.63, 359.82) than non-Hispanic White (204.43 fluid ounces/month, 95% CI=201.81, 207.05) and Hispanic (222.63 fluid ounces/month, 95% CI=217.11, 228.15) households. Low-income households purchased more fruit drinks and fewer unsweetened juices than higher-income households (p<0.001). TV brand advertising was positively associated with purchases across all categories, and this relationship was stronger for low-income households (p<0.05).


      Despite expert recommendations that young children do not consume Sugar-sweetened beverages, households with young children purchase more sweetened fruit drinks than unsweetened juices. Extensive TV advertising for children's drink brands may exacerbate the racial and income disparities in sugar-sweetened beverage purchases. Public health initiatives to address sugar-sweetened beverage consumption by young children and restrictions on marketing sugar-sweetened beverages to children are necessary.
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