Need for action
The link between excessive and habitual consumption of sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) and health issues such as weight gain, obesity and type 2 diabetes is well established. High SSB consumption can also contribute to other conditions such as metabolic syndrome and tooth decay.
Most opinion leaders agree that water is the healthiest beverage. However, there is still much debate about its true benefits. Making society more aware of the benefits of water will require concerted scientific and medical effort, which is precisely what the Hydration for Health initiative aims to achieve:
- People need to be made more aware of the current worldwide obesity/type 2 diabetes ‘epidemic’ and its implications for future health
- Healthcare professionals should be encouraged to talk with patients about the calorific content of SSBs when discussing lifestyle modification to manage overweight and/or obesity
- Guidelines, particularly those covering hydration and excessive SSB consumption, should be made available for healthcare professionals to discuss with patients
- Consumption of more water in preference to other beverages should be highlighted as a simple step towards healthier hydration