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Trends in overweight and soda consumption among children in the United States, 1976-2000

Trends in overweight and soda consumption among children in the United States, 1976-2000

FASEB Journal 18(4-5): Abst 100 3

The prevalence of overweight among children in the US tripled in the last 20 years. Increased consumption of sugar sweetened drinks is among the underlying factors suggested as contributing to this increase. We looked at the association of soda consumption with overweight over time in children and teens using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys between 1976 and 2000. Overweight was defined as >95th percentile of the body mass index-for-age growth charts. Soda intake was determined from one 24 hour dietary recall and a food frequency. Along with overweight, soda consumption increased during the last 2 decades. Among 6-11 year olds the percentage of children drinking regular soda on the day of the recall increased 20 percentage points. Similarly, the median grams of regular soda consumed by all children increased from 410 to 622 grams or 3% of total kilocalories. Although the prevalence of overweight among all groups of children has increased, the trend in overweight is not consistent across categories of soda consumption. In fact, in 1976-80 male teen soda consumers were significantly more likely to be overweight compared to non-consumers. In 1999-2000, however, the relationship for male teens was reversed, non-consumers were more likely to be overweight. Although the increase in soda consumption has paralleled the increase in overweight the relationship may not be as simple as it would seem.

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