225385 How much have sweetened beverages contributed to the obesity epidemic?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 12:30 PM - 12:50 PM

Pat Crawford, DrPH, RD , Atkins Center for Weight and Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Gail Woodward-Lopez, MPH, RD , Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight and Health, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Janice Kao, MPH , Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight and Health, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Lorrene Ritchie, PhD, RD , Dr. Robert C. and Veronica Atkins Center for Weight and Health, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Evidence indicates that increases in energy availability and intake have been the major contributor to the current obesity epidemic. It is imperative to identify which foods are the most problematic. A systematic literature review and analysis was conducted to examine the extent to which sweetened beverages have contributed to obesity in the U.S. Findings from national intake trends, short term experimental studies, observational studies, and intervention trials were examined. Sweetened beverage intake and the prevalence of obesity have risen in tandem. Sweetened beverages now contribute more calories to the American diet than any other single food grouping. Experimentally, calories in liquid form have been shown to be not well compensated for by reductions in other sources of energy. The majority of observational studies found a significant association between sweetened beverage intake and adiposity. Finally, intervention trials have demonstrated that reducing sweetened beverage intake can help prevent excess weight gain, while increasing sweetened beverage intake can lead to weight gain. In summary, all lines of evidence support the conclusion that consumption of sweetened beverages has contributed to obesity. Further analysis revealed that sweetened beverages account for at least one-fifth of the population weight gained in recent decades. Examining sweetened beverage consumption in context of the Dietary Guidelines' recommendation for limits on discretionary calories can provide the needed guidance for quantifying policy recommendations to limit sweetened beverage consumption. It is imperative that policies be put in place to reduce sweetened beverage consumption. Various policy options for communicating this information will be discussed.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the nature of the evidence implicating sweetened beverages as a contributing cause of the obesity epidemic. 2. Evaluate the estimated magnitude of the contribution of sweetened beverage intake on population-based calorie intakes and weight gain in recent decades. 3. Explain the rationale for recommending limits on sweetened beverage consumption.

Keywords: Obesity, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been involved in analyzing the literature on the determinants of obesity for over 20 years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.