Obesity Risk Tied to Certain Demographics Who Drink Sugary Beverages

Although many of us are learning more about the dangers of sugary beverages – which have been linked to rising cases of obesity and increased rates of type 2 diabetes – there are some groups who seem to have not “gotten the memo.”

According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC) certain demographics in the United States – young black men, adults with lower income and adults with less education – are more likely than others to consume more than one sugary drink a day.

Drinks included as part of the report were soda, Kool-Aid, lemonade and fruit juices made at home with added sugar.

The CDC report says that almost a quarter of adults in six states – Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey and Wisconsin – consume at least one sugar-sweetened beverage at day.

The study also found that those with better health habits including regular exercise and a healthy diet were less inclined to drink sugary beverages.

On the heels of the CDC research, the Obesity Society released a position statement calling for the end of consumption of sugary drinks as a way to combat America’s growing obesity epidemic.

According to the CDC, childhood obesity has more than doubled in the past 30 years, and in 2012, one in three children were considered overweight or obese. The Obesity Society points to sugary beverages – marketed in many cases specifically to kids – as one of the leading culprits.

The group based its opinion on multiple studies, including a recent clinical trial of 641 children which found that those who drank one sweetened beverage a day for a year gained more weight than kids who traded that sugary drink for an unsweetened one.

“By adding more non-nutritious calories to the American diet, sugar-sweetened beverages have contributed to the U.S. obesity epidemic,” said the group’s spokesperson, Diana Thomas, Ph.D., professor at Montclair State University in New Jersey and director of the Center for Quantitative Obesity Research.  “We recommend that to maintain and improve health children minimize drinking sugar-sweetened beverages.”

The organization also called for adults to reduce or avoid entirely sugar-sweetened beverages so they can better serve as role models for children while protecting their own health and weight.

“There’s no arguing with the fact that the high rates of obesity in the U.S. are troubling for our nation’s health, specifically the recently reported rise in severe obesity among children in JAMA Pediatrics,” Thomas said.

Experts hope that the results of the CDC report and the Obesity Society option encourage health care providers to better understand the impact of sugary drinks on health and lead them to suggest lifestyle changes including ditching these beverages altogether. 

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