Objective: Partly inconsistent findings from previous reviews have fueled discussions on the impact of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) on obesity development. The aim was to systematically review the recent evidence in children and adults.
Methods: Data were retrieved from the databases MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane library for the period January 2013 to October 2015. A systematic review of prospective cohort studies and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) relating SSBs to weight measures was conducted.
Results: 30 publications met the inclusion criteria. Prospective cohort studies (96%; n = 26) showed a positive association between consumption of SSBs and weight/BMI in adults and children (n = 242,352), and only one cohort study in children showed no association. Findings from three RCTs in children demonstrated that SSB consumption had an effect on BMI/BMI z-score. The one RCT in adults showed no significant effect of the intervention. 63% of the studies were of good, 30% of medium quality, and none was funded by industry.
Conclusion: Recent evidence suggests that SSB consumption is positively associated with or has an effect on obesity indices in children and adults. By combining the already published evidence with the new one, we conclude that public health policies should aim to reduce the consumption of SSBs and encourage healthy alternatives such as water.
Keywords: Adults; Children; Obesity; Sugar-sweetened beverages; Systematic review.
© 2017 The Author(s) Published by S. Karger GmbH, Freiburg.