Greater consumption of sweetened beverages and added sugars is associated with obesity among US young adults

Ann Nutr Metab. 2010;57(3-4):211-8. doi: 10.1159/000321542. Epub 2010 Nov 19.


Background/aims: This study sought to examine the associations of the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and of added sugars with total and abdominal obesity in American adults aged 20-39 years who participated in the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in the U.S.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study based on a sample of 947 adults (aged 20-39 years): 424 non-Hispanic whites, 222 non-Hispanic blacks, and 301 Mexican-Americans. Obesity was defined as a body mass index ≥30 and abdominal obesity as a waist circumference >102 cm in men or >88 cm in women. The use of sweetened beverages and added sugars was stratified into quartiles of intake. Odds ratios (ORs) for total and abdominal obesity were estimated with logistic regression models.

Results: Compared to the lowest intake quartile of sweetened beverages, those with the highest intake had a higher intake of energy, added sugars, and carbohydrates, as well as a lower intake of fiber, orange juice, and low-fat milk. A greater intake of sweetened beverages was associated with a higher risk of total and abdominal obesity (p(trend) <0.02 for both). The adjusted ORs comparing 2 extreme quartiles of sweetened beverages were 2.1 (95% CI 1.2-3.7) for total obesity and 2.0 (95% CI 1.1-3.6) for abdominal obesity.

Conclusions: An increased consumption of sweetened beverages was associated with total and abdominal obesity in US adults aged 20-39 years. Further investigation of the potential role of sweetened beverages and other dietary components, and of the mechanisms by which these intakes contribute to weight gain, is needed to accelerate our efforts to halt or somewhat alleviate the current obesity epidemic facing the American population.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Beverages*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dietary Sucrose / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Nutrition Surveys*
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity, Abdominal / epidemiology
  • Obesity, Abdominal / etiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Dietary Sucrose