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How do parents respond to regulation of sugary drinks in child care?: Evidence from California

Excessive sugar intake is associated with higher risk for a range of diseases in children, including childhood obesity. To reduce sugar intake in children, California regulates the provision of sugar-sweetened beverages and juice by child care facilities. The regulation may reduce the consumption of beverages high in sugar in the short run and weaken their preferences for sugary drinks in the long run. Whether these objectives are achieved depends on how parents respond to the regulation by providing sugary drinks at home. Using detailed scanner data on grocery purchases, we find that affected California households increased their juice purchases right after the regulation became effective. However, this increase disappears after 1 year. Moreover, we do not find an increase in the purchases of sugary substitutes. Our findings suggest that parents provide more juice for their children after child care facilities limit their provision of sugary beverage, but such offsetting behavior disappears after 1 year. Regulating the consumption of sugary drinks in child care facilities may be an effective policy to lower children’s preferences for sugary drinks. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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