Research concludes sugar-sweetened beverages contribute to the U.S. obesity epidemic, particularly among children

April 23, 2014, PR Newswire

In response to the ongoing policy discussions on the role of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) on weight and health, The Obesity Society (TOS) concludes that sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) contribute to the United States’ obesity epidemic, particularly among children. Based on an in-depth analysis of the current research, TOS’s position statement unveiled April 23 provides several recommendations for improving health, including that children minimize their consumption of SSBs.

“There’s no arguing with the fact that the high rates of obesity in the United States are troubling for our nation’s health, specifically the recently reported rise in severe obesity among children in JAMA Pediatrics,” said TOS spokesperson Diana Thomas, Ph.D., Professor at Montclair State University and Director of the Center for Quantitative Obesity Research.

“Following a thorough review and analysis of the existing research, TOS concludes that, by adding more non-nutritious calories to the American diet, SSBs have contributed to the U.S. obesity epidemic. Further, we recommend that to maintain and improve health children minimize drinking SSBs and adults reduce or avoid SSB consumption as part of an overall strategy to reduce calories.” Continue reading

California lawmaker proposes warning labels for sugary drinks

Feb. 13, 2014, Reuters

By Sharon Bernstein

All sodas and other sugar-sweetened drinks sold in California would be required to carry warning labels for obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay under a bill introduced in Sacramento on Feb. 13, backed by several public health advocacy groups.

If passed, caloric drinks would join tobacco and alcohol products in carrying health warning labels in California, the nation’s most populous state and a legislative trend-setter.

Proponents say the first-of-its kind effort takes aim at the epidemic of obesity in the United States, where 35.7 percent of adults and 16.9 percent of children aged 2 to 19 are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Continue reading

Study: Most people don’t know how not how many calories are in soda

Jan. 3, 2014, Huffington Post

Even though it’s widely known that soda can contribute to weight gain, the majority of adults don’t actually know how many calories are in a bottle of soda, a new study reveals.

The research, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and based on data from 3,926 adults, shows that eight in 10 adults — 84.4 percent — know that sugar-sweetened beverages can promote weight gain. However, nearly the same percentage of adults — 81 percent — did not know (or inaccurately stated) the number of calories in 24 ounces of soda. (There are 251 to 350 calories in a 24-ounce soda).

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers found that knowledge about sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain, as well as the calorie information of sugar-sweetened beverages, differed by sex, household income, education level, and race. Continue reading

Are sugary drinks fattening? Depends who you ask

Jan. 3, 2014, The New York Times

By Nicholas Bakalar

Are there good scientific studies that show that drinking sugar-sweetened soda increases the risk for obesity? The answer may vary depending on who is paying for the study.

Researchers examined 17 large reviews of the subject (one review assessed results for adults and children separately, so there were 18 sets of study conclusions). Six of the studies reported receiving funds from industry groups, including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, the American Beverage Association and others. The other 12 reviews claimed no conflicts of interest. The analysis appears in the December issue of PLOS Medicine. Continue reading

Soda tax of 20 percent may cut United Kingdom obesity rate by 180,000

Nov. 1, 2013, Bloomberg

By Simeon Bennett

A 20 percent tax on sugary drinks in the United Kingdom would cut the nation’s obesity rate by 1.3 percent, with the greatest benefit for people under 30, a study found.

The tax, proposed by the U.K. Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, would result in about 180,000 fewer adults with a body mass index of 30 or more, researchers from the universities of Oxford and Reading wrote in the journal BMJ. Among people ages 16 to 30, who are the greatest consumers of sugary drinks, the tax would reduce obesity by 7.6 percent, the study showed.

About 26 percent of adults in the United Kingdom are obese, the second highest rate in Europe behind Hungary, which has adopted taxes on salt and sugar. While other European nations and some U.S. states tax soft drinks, most levies are less than 10 percent. Continue reading

Report: California teens drinking more sugary drinks

Oct. 18, 2013, HealthDay

Although younger children in California are drinking less soda and other sugary beverages, teens in the state are actually drinking more, according to a report released Oct. 17.

The research from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy (CCPHA) involved more than 40,000 households and revealed an 8 percent surge in sugary drink consumption among young people age 12 to 17. Particularly large increases were seen among black, Latino, and Asian teens.

“California has made real progress in reducing the consumption of sugary beverages among young children,” Dr. Susan Babey, of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, said in a center news release. “But teens are in trouble. Soda or sports drinks should be an occasional treat, not a daily habit. If this trend isn’t reversed there may be costly consequences for teens, their families, and the health care system in the form of increased obesity and diabetes.” Continue reading

Too many sugary drinks for kids

Aug. 26, 2013, dailyRx

Most kids love sugary beverages, but parents should be mindful of how much of these beverages their kids are drinking.

A recent review of studies found that drinking more sugar-sweetened drinks was linked to weight gain among children and adults.

The study authors noted that it is especially important to have overweight children reduce their consumption of sugary beverages.

This study was led by Vasanti Malik, Sc.D., from the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. Continue reading

Sugary drinks tied to obesity among preschoolers

Aug. 5, 2013, Reuters

By Genevra Pittman

Five-year-olds who drink sugar-sweetened sodas, sports drinks, or juices every day are more likely to be obese than those who have sugar-sweetened beverages less often, according to a new study.

Although the link between sugary drinks and extra weight has been well documented among teens and adults, researchers said that up until now, the evidence was less clear for young children.

“Even though sugar-sweetened beverages are relatively a small percentage of the calories that children take in, that additional amount of calories did contribute to more weight gain over time,” said Dr. Mark DeBoer, who led the study at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Continue reading