Rethink Your Drink: Reducing Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Sales in a Children’s Hospital

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Abstract

Background. Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are linked to obesity; hospitals are a priority setting to reduce intake. This article describes the development, implementation, and results of a focused intervention to reduce SSB sales within a hospital setting. Method. After a formative research process, Rethink Your Drink was launched at a children’s hospital in San Diego. The initiative consisted of an educational intervention using the stoplight system to categorize beverages as red, yellow, or green based on sugar content. Beverage sales data were collected for 3 months prior, during the 12-month intervention, and for 4 months after the intervention ended. Results. Monthly red beverage sales decreased from an average of 56% during baseline to 32% at the end of the data collection period (p < .001). Monthly green beverage sales increased from an average of 12.2% during baseline to 38% at the end of the data collection period (p < .001). Sales revenue for all drinks remained constant. Discussion. The intervention resulted in a decrease in SSB sales and an increase in sales of healthier beverage choices. Such interventions can play an important role in obesity prevention and may be more feasible for smaller hospitals with limited resources.

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