The role of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in adolescent obesity: a review of the literature

J Sch Nurs. 2008 Feb;24(1):3-12. doi: 10.1177/10598405080240010201.


Soft drink consumption has increased by 300% in the past 20 years, and 56-85% of children in school consume at least one soft drink daily. The odds ratio of becoming obese among children increases 1.6 times for each additional can or glass of sugar-sweetened drink consumed beyond their usual daily intake of the beverage. Soft drinks currently constitute the leading source of added sugars in the diet and exceed the U.S. Department of Agriculture's recommended total sugar consumption for adolescents. With the increase in adolescent obesity and the concurrent increase in consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), the assumption infers a relationship between the two variables. SSB, classified as high-glycemic index (GI) liquids, increase postprandial blood glucose levels and decrease insulin sensitivity. Additionally, high-GI drinks submit to a decreased satiety level and subsequent overeating. Low-GI beverages stimulate a delayed return of hunger, thereby prompting an increased flexibility in amounts and frequencies of servings. Single intervention manipulation, elimination, or marked reduction of SSB consumption may serve to decrease caloric intake, increase satiety levels, decrease tendencies towards insulin resistance, and simplify the process of weight management in this population.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology
  • Adolescent Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Blood Glucose / physiology
  • Carbonated Beverages / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Sucrose / adverse effects*
  • Energy Intake
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Feeding Behavior* / physiology
  • Feeding Behavior* / psychology
  • Food Dispensers, Automatic
  • Food Preferences
  • Glycemic Index
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Nurse's Role
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Psychology, Adolescent
  • Risk Factors
  • Satiety Response
  • School Nursing / organization & administration
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Sucrose