Children and adolescents' choices of foods and beverages high in added sugars are associated with intakes of key nutrients and food groups

J Adolesc Health. 2004 Jan;34(1):56-63. doi: 10.1016/s1054-139x(03)00248-9.


Purpose: To determine associations between intakes of the primary food and beverage sources of added sugars and intakes of key nutrients and food pyramid groups among U.S. children aged 6-17 years.

Methods: The 1994-96 and 1998 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (CSFII) were used to examine the diets of U.S. children aged 6-17 years, who provided 2 full days of dietary data. The nationally representative sample (n = 3038) included children age 6-11 (n = 1913) and adolescents age 12-17 (n = 1125). Food codes for sweetened foods and beverages were selected from the USDA Food Coding Scheme and categorized into five food and beverage categories. The Statistical Analysis System software program was used to recode and format the data for statistical analysis and the Survey Data Analysis System was used to apply sample weights and generate statistical procedures.

Results: The consumption of sweetened dairy products was positively associated with calcium intakes for children and adolescents. Consumption of presweetened cereals increased the likelihood of the children and adolescents meeting recommendations for the essential shortfall micronutrients calcium, folate, and iron, whereas the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, sugars and sweets, and sweetened grains decreased the likelihood of meeting the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) for these nutrients. Only children who were nonconsumers of sugar-sweetened beverages had a mean calcium intake that met the adequate intakes (AI). Consumption of sweetened dairy products and presweetened cereals was positively associated with the number of dairy servings consumed per day for both age groups.

Conclusions: On average, consumption of sweetened dairy foods and beverages and presweetened cereals had a positive impact on children and adolescents' diet quality, whereas sugar-sweetened beverages, sugars and sweets, and sweetened grains had a negative impact on their diet quality.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Beverages / classification*
  • Child
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Diet / classification
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data
  • Dietary Sucrose / administration & dosage*
  • Food Preferences / classification*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Nutritive Value*
  • United States
  • United States Department of Agriculture


  • Dietary Sucrose