The REACH Project’s healthy beverage initiative seeks to make healthy beverage options available to all residents, regardless of where they live. We encourage residents to share their healthy beverage habits with their workplace, organizations, and communities to create a demand for healthier options.
There are many approaches, ranging from education, to making healthy beverages more available, to eliminating the sale and provision of sugary beverages altogether. Each organization and community’s approach may be different, but by coming together, individuals can work alongside institutions to create a healthy beverage environment.
To categorize policy approaches towards creating a healthy beverage environment, we can use the MAPPS strategies: Media, Access, Point of Decision, Pricing, and Social Supports.
- Use Media to promote healthy drinks and tap water: Restrict sugary beverage advertising and employ counter-advertising on the health effects of sugary beverage consumption.
- Increase Access to healthy drinks and tap water: Reduce the availability of unhealthy drinks in retail venues, vending machines, cafeterias, meetings, and more.
- Use Point of Decision labeling or signage to discourage consumption of sugary beverages, promote healthier choices, and give consumers nutritional information about their choices. To download the “stoplight” point of decision signage, click here.
- Use Price to discourage consumption of unhealthy drinks and make it easier to purchase healthier options by making seltzer and bottled water relatively cheaper compared to their sugary counterparts.
- Use Social Supports to promote increased physical activity, such as organizing walking groups or promoting taking the stairs, as part of a comprehensive path to a healthier organization. Visit Boston Moves for Health for more information on building healthy workplaces and communities.
Additionally, organizations can set nutritional standards for catered and purchased meals and snacks to provide healthy choices to employees and visitors. The Boston Public Health Commission has developed a set of procurement standards for food service vendors to follow. BPHC actively selects caterers who will abide by these policies and provides training and support to vendors as needed to ensure ongoing compliance. These procurement standards are based on sources including New York City’s guidelines as well as the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Our standards prohibit all sugary beverages and restrict the serving sizes of 100% fruit juice and unflavored, low-fat milk. Tap water is served at all times. The full procurement standards are available at BPHC procurement standards
If your organization is located within the City of Boston and would like to receive technical assistance on adopting practices and policies to increase access to healthy beverages please contact the REACH Obesity & Hypertension Project Director