Newspaper article MinnPost.com

Americans Are Drinking Fewer Sugary Beverages Than They Were a Decade Ago

Newspaper article MinnPost.com

Americans Are Drinking Fewer Sugary Beverages Than They Were a Decade Ago

Article excerpt

Americans — both children and adults — are drinking fewer sodas and other sugary beverages than a decade ago, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Obesity.

But, unfortunately, that trend is not true for all demographic groups in the United States. The study also found that the consumption of sugary beverages remains high among teens and young adults, as well as among blacks and Hispanics.

Sugar-sweetened beverages “are a leading source of added sugar to the diet for adults and children in the U.S. and their consumption is strongly linked to obesity,” said Sara Bleich, the study’s lead author and a professor of public health policy at Harvard University, in a released statement.

Understanding which groups are most likely to consume such beverages is “critical” to developing effective approaches for reducing their consumption, she added.

Obesity rates keeps climbing

We are, of course, in the midst of an obesity epidemic. A report released in October by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that almost 40 percent of adults and almost 20 percent of adolescents in the United States are obese — the highest rates ever recorded.

Sugary beverages are a leading source of added sugar to the American diet, and several studies have found a strong link between the consumption of those beverages and obesity.

And, as this new study shows, on any given day about half of adults and two-thirds of children in the United States drink at least one sugar-sweetened beverage.

That’s fewer than in the past, but it’s still an incredibly large proportion of our population.

Breaking down the data

For their study, Bleich and her colleagues analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of people who participated in the annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) between 2003 and 2014.

The sample included 18,600 children aged 2 to 19 and 27,652 adults aged 20 and older. The participants were asked if they had consumed in the previous 24 hours any of seven different kinds of beverages: sugar-sweetened beverages, 100 percent fruit juice, diet beverages, milk (including flavored milk), unsweetened coffee or tea, alcohol, and water. (Parents or other guardians answered the questions for the youngest participants.)

The data revealed that between 2003 and 2014 the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages had dropped 12 percentage points among adults (from 61. …

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