Background: Beverage patterning may play a role in partially explaining the rising rates of obesity in the United States, yet little work on overall trends and patterns exits. Our objective was to examine trends and patterns of beverage consumption among U.S. adults.
Methods: We used data from the nationally representative Nationwide Food Consumption Surveys (1965, 1977 to 1978) and the National Health and Nutrition Surveys (1988 to 1994, 1999 to 2002). To examine trends we determined percent consuming and per capita and per consumer caloric intake from all beverages. We used cluster analysis to determine year-specific beverage patterns in 1977 and 2002.
Results: The percentage of calories from beverages significantly increased between 1965 (11.8%), 1977 (14.2%), 1988 (18.5%), and 2002 (21.0%); this represents an overall increase of 222 calories per person per day from beverages, resulting largely from increased intake of calorically sweetened beverages. Beverage patterns in 2002 were more complex than in 1977 and were dominated by a greater number of beverages, reflecting the increase in alcohol, soda, and diet beverages.
Conclusion: Calories from beverages increased substantially from 1965 to 2002, providing a considerable source of daily calories. Given the upward trends in calorically sweetened, nutrient-deficient beverages and the shifts in overall beverage patterns, addressing beverage intake is a salient issue for adults.